September 19, 1936 – November 14, 2012
Martin Fay is best remembered as the founding fiddler for the Chieftains. Formed in 1962, the Cheiftains went on to become arguably the biggest Irish folk band in history. If nothing more, they helped popularize their native music the world over for the better part of 50 years. To date, the band has earned six Grammys and has been named “Ireland’s Musical Ambassadors.” Fay learned to play the violin as a child, and by his late teens, he was playing in the Abbey Theatre orchestra in Dublin. By the early ’60s, Fay was earning his living by playing music, and in 1963, he and the Chieftains released their self-titled debut on Claddagh Records. From then on, the band seemed to tour the world non-stop, even playing in front of over 1 million people during Pope John Paul II‘s visit to Dublin in 1979. In 2001, Fay retired from the road but continued to record and perform with the Chieftains, but only in Ireland. In all, he played on over 30 albums before retiring completely in 2002. Martin Fay was 76 when he passed away on November 14, 2012. Cause of death was not immediately released, although, he had reportedly been ill for quite some time prior.
Thanks to Harold Lepidus at the Bob Dylan Examiner for the assist.