Martin McHugh 1929-2022

“All around the United States in Irish music communities there are musicians who, with their combination of musicianship and enthusiasm, draw players to the music. New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston all have these singular people. In Minneapolis/St. Paul, that person is Martin McHugh. A gem of a person, he’s that player that we all gather around—it’s as much about his company as it is about his music. Marty’s love of the music and his beautiful steady playing have influenced an entire generation in Minnesota.” –Liz Carroll, Chicago

“Martin McHugh has been the shining light and the steady rock at the center of the traditional Irish music scene in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for decades. When I first visited the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, performing with James Kelly and Paddy O'Brien in September 1978, there was already an active Irish music and dance scene with some great traditional players. Their mentor and inspiration was Martin McHugh, accordion-player from Co. Roscommon. All these years later, we have the incredible good fortune still to have Marty in top form, going to sessions several times a week, inspiring us with his spirit and wit and wonderful music, and still encouraging and mentoring musicians young and old, with no reward or payment other than the sheer pleasure of it. Now, thanks to his and my great friend, Laura MacKenzie, we will have a CD full of Martin's unique music -- joyful, full of the tradition, unassuming, and deceptively complex. Laura, who knows Martin's music so well, plays as only she could on flute, whistle and concertina, and I have the honour of accompanying my friends on guitar. Words are cheap, as they say, but this will be a truly historic occasion for Irish music in Minnesota.” –Dáithí Sproule

“How lucky was I, with Martin McHugh as my original mentor in Irish music! Through his generosity of spirit, great music and good cheer, the door was opened and the path revealed. A life in traditional music ensued and I never looked back. I was thrilled when Martin agreed to do this project. We’ve all enjoyed it so much, it was hard to stop… this just might be ‘Volume 1’! ”–Laura MacKenzie