Aengus Hackett is a musician, composer, facilitator and teacher from Galway, Ireland. He performs and writes in many diverse genres of music, such as jazz, folk, post-rock and electronica. A seasoned performer, he brings a wealth of musical experience to his work as an educator and facilitator in the area of arts and disability.
Aengus Hackett has been surrounded by music since the day he was born in the west of Ireland. From the folk and rock albums at home to the traditional music in the family pub, he soaked up every note he heard. It wasn’t long before Aengus realised that music was his calling, and he took up the guitar.
Music soon became Aengus’ whole life. Upon discovering jazz, he was instantly hooked. Before long he was studying with Irish jazz guitar stalwart Mike Nielsen, a contemporary of such jazz legends as Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano.
In June 2009 Aengus won a grant from the Arts Councils of Ireland and N. Ireland to attend the renowned Skidmore Jazz Institute in New York. During his time in the US, he studied with the likes of guitarist Wayne Krantz, and Grammy winner Bobby Shew.
Aengus decided to take his passion to the next level, moving to the Netherlands in 2008 to study jazz. This diverse experience blew his musical mind wide open. He spent time studying with world-class jazz performers such as Jesse van Ruller, Freddie Bryant and Alex Sipiagin, as well as with Dutch pop guitar veteran Arnold van Dongen. In addition to this he experimented with west-African kora, south Indian music, and music production. After spending many long days and nights honing his guitar playing and composing skills, in June 2013 Aengus became a graduate of the prestigious Conservatory of Amsterdam.
During his time in the Netherlands, he crossed paths with many wonderful musicians, and the path was paved for two of his current international projects:
The experimental jazz / folk / rock trio DINOSAUR completed their first tour of Ireland in 2014, culminating in a performance at the National Concert Hall of Ireland. A debut album is completed, and will be released on 23rd October 2017.
Aengus embarked on a successful tour of Ireland in 2015 with his exciting ‘Irish-Turkish Project‘, featuring world-class vocalist Sanem Kalfa. For this project, The Arts Council of Ireland awarded Aengus with a Touring Award. The tour got national press coverage, appearing in publications such as Hot Press Magazine, the Irish Independent and the Irish Times, and on radio stations such as RTE Radio 1 and Lyric FM.
As a member of the Galway Jazz Festival team, Aengus has been heavily involved in the planning and coordination of each festival programme since 2010.
This includes curating and performing the ‘Salthouse Sessions’, as well as facilitating youth jazz workshops in Galway and Co. Galway schools.
A passionate educator, Aengus also has over ten years experience as a guitar teacher. Read more on the lessons page.
Since returning to live in Ireland in 2013, Aengus has kept busy with creative projects, such releasing his debut album with experimental post-rock group Zinc.
Aengus collaborated with fellow Zinc bandmate Andrew Madec on two projects supported by That’s Life, the award-winning arts programme of the Brothers of Charity Services Galway.
In Flow is an exciting project combining Indonesian Gamelan, electronics and visuals. Electric Dreams is a diverse band which walks the line between synth pop and indie in their sound, and come with a message of inclusion and community.
Most recently, Aengus has successfully been awarded the Arts Participation Bursary Award 2017 by Arts Council Ireland.
His proposal is to explore and develop improvisation as a tool to make music with a group of adults with intellectual disability. Over the course of a year, Aengus will continue working with That’s Life, who have also pledged an enormous level of support in the proposal.