Northern Ireland news

President Higgins leads tributes to acclaimed traditional musician Dennis Cahill

Dennis Cahill performing with Martin Hayes in 2005. Picture by Derek Speirs

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins last night led tributes to renowned guitarist and Irish traditional musician Dennis Cahill, following his death aged 68.

Born in Chicago of immigrant parents from Co Kerry, he began learning guitar at the age of nine before going on to study at the Chicago Music College.

Regarded as one of the most respected and innovative guitar players in the world of traditional Irish music, Cahill developed his own unique style of playing and performing.

He is arguably best known for the musical partnership he forged with fiddler Martin Hayes. The two played as a duo and also as part of the Irish traditional supergroup The Gloaming.

The pair collaborated and played alongside artists such as Sting, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, Grammy-winning bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, newgrass artists Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

They played live together across the globe, including performances in Canada, Poland, Mexico and China.

In 2011 they were the featured performers at the White House for President Obama.

President Higgins said he learned of the musician's passing with "great sadness".

"Dennis brought a unique and innovative style to his guitar playing, while being deeply respectful of the essence of traditional Irish music," he said.

"He will, of course, be best remembered for his collaborations with Martin Hayes both as a duo and within the group The Gloaming. Together they explored new musical territory and helped create a phenomenal interest in traditional music among a whole new generation of people both within Ireland and across the world."

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