Co-founder of Chieftains dies, aged 76


A founding member of the traditional Irish music group The Chieftains has died.

Martin Fay, who was a fiddler with the group, had been ill for some time before his death yesterday at the age of 76.

In a tribute to their friend and colleague, the band members posted a simple message on their official website last night saying: “The Chieftains are sad to announce that original member Martin Fay has passed away.

“Martin’s memory and music will be with The Chieftains always. He will be dearly missed.”

Mr Fay was a member of the group at the time of its formation in 1962.

He decided to reduce his touring commitments in 2001, keeping instead to an occasional performance before his complete retirement in 2002.

A native of Cabra in north Dublin, Fay was inspired to learn music after seeing a film on Paganini, the celebrated violinist. He got his first instrument and began taking music lessons, although he was not greatly taken with Irish traditional music in his early years, opting instead for classical training.

He eventually joined a six- piece orchestra that played music at the Abbey Theatre.

With a newly developed passion for the traditional discipline, he became a member of Ceoltóirí Cualann and eventually went on to form The Chieftains, embarking on one of the best known stories in modern Irish music.