TRADITIONAL raditional musican Martin Fay, a founding member of The Chieftains, has died aged 76. The fiddler, a native of Cabra in Dublin, had been ill for some time and had not performed regularly with the group for over a decade.
A statement from the group said "his memory and music will be with The Chieftains always. He will be dearly missed",
Mr Fay was best known for his interpretation of slow air, demonstrating emotion and tranquility. He helped found The Chieftains in 1962, but in 2001 he decided to retire from touring.
Fay had joined forces with fellow musicians Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts, Micheal Tubridy and David Fallon 50 years ago to record what was supposed to be a one-off album for the Claddagh label.
As a youth, he was inspired to take up music after seeing a film on Paganini. He said the soundtrack played by Yehudi Menuhin deeply affected him, and after persuading his father to buy him a violin, he was soon attending the School of Music for lessons. Paddy Maloney said: "Martin was one of ours and a great ambassador for Irish music as The Chieftains travelled the world.
"He had a serious face but would have the rest of us in stitches with his jokes. As a player he was fantastic.
He lived in Sutton with his wife Grainne. He is also survived by his son Fergal, daughter Dearbhla, grandson Adam, and a sister in California. His funeral Mass will be at the Church of he Resurrection in Bayside, Sutton, on Saturday.