Dennis Cahill (musician)

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Dennis Cahill
Background information
Born(1954-06-16)June 16, 1954
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 20, 2022(2022-06-20) (aged 68)
GenresIrish traditional music
Years active1980s–2010s
LabelsGreen Linnet

Dennis Cahill (June 16, 1954 – June 20, 2022)[1] was an American guitarist who specialized in Irish traditional music. He was born in Chicago of parents from County Kerry, Ireland. He began playing guitar at the age of nine and studied the instrument at the Chicago Musical College.[2] He was active in the Irish traditional music scene in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s.[3]

In the late 1980s, he and Irish fiddler Martin Hayes formed a band in Chicago called Midnight Court, which combined traditional music with rock and roll.[4] The band, in which Cahill played a Fender Telecaster and Hayes an electric fiddle, was active between 1989 and 1992. After its demise, Cahill and Hayes continued to work together and formed an acoustic duo in 1996, developing an "unrushed, lyrical, highly expressive interpretation" of traditional Irish music.[5] Cahill's chordal accompaniment used standard tuning.[6]

In 1999, a New York Times reviewer described Hayes and Cahill's approach as "stripping old reels and jigs to their essence, leaving space between the notes for harmonics and whispered blue notes," resulting in "a Celtic complement to Steve Reich's quartets or Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain. "[7] They toured extensively and released three recordings on the Green Linnet label: The Lonesome Touch (1997), Live in Seattle (1999), and Welcome Here Again (2008).[8] Cahill and Hayes, along with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and pianist Doveman, were the members of The Gloaming, an Irish-American supergroup whose first album was released in 2014, winning the Meteor Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.[9][10]

Cahill was married to Mary Joyce.


  1. ^ Folk guitarist Dennis Cahill (The Gloaming) has died
  2. ^ "Dennis Cahill". Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  3. ^ Vallely, Fintan (1999). The Companion to Irish Traditional Music. New York, N.Y.: New York University Press. p. 419. ISBN 9780814788028.
  4. ^ Nicholsen, Michael D (2007). "Auld Sod" and the New Turf: Entertainment, Nationalism, and Identity in the Irish Traditional Music Community of Chicago, 1868--1999. Chicago: Loyola University. p. 303. ISBN 9780549400509.
  5. ^ Hitchner, Earle (March 13, 2008). "Fearlessness and fidelity mark this Irish fiddler's art". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Vallely, Fintan (1999). The Companion to Irish Traditional Music. New York, N.Y.: New York University Press. p. 162. ISBN 9780814788028.
  7. ^ Powers, Ann (January 14, 1999). "Melodies of Ireland, complex yet sparse". The New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Artists in Association - Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill". Clare Memory Orchestra. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  9. ^ Kelly, Aoife (March 5, 2015). "The Gloaming win coveted Meteor Choice Music Prize Album of the Year, The Script bag Song of the Year". Irish Independent. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  10. ^ Hickling, Alfred (July 23, 2014). "How The Gloaming assembled their craic squad". The Guardian. Retrieved January 20, 2016.

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