Introducing Gwenn Frin

Gwenn Frin

Gwenn Frin

Gwenn Frin is a wooden flute player who has been assisting Martin Doyle for the past few months and learning about the art of flute making. Originally from Brittany in France, a cultural region that has historic ties to the Celts and also has a very strong culture of folk music, Gwenn fell in love with the simple system wooden flute (also known as Irish flute) at an early age. The instrument has been an major part of her life ever since and has brought her to many countries around the world including Ireland, Korea and the United States.

Gwenn first performed with the Cercle Celtique de Rennes (who are coming to Cork in July of this year) where she was introduced to the traditional music and dances of Brittany before playing for the dancers themselves. Her true professional debut were with the band Beaj Iskis in the early 1990s, which toured the Fest Noz scene in Brittany for four years. Gwenn moved to Galway, Ireland in 1998, drawn to the roots of her passion, and took classes with renowned flute player Harry Bradley.

Gwenn Frin working at the lathe.

Gwenn Frin working at the lathe.

In 1999, Gwenn moved to Dublin to concentrate solely on her flute playing while completing a Higher National Diploma In Traditional Music performance (Ceoltóir) directed by flute player Paul McGrattan. This last experience led her to doing a Master’s degree in Music and Media Technologies in Trinity College, Dublin. These amazing two years transformed her musical understanding and experience and opened up her musical horizons not only to contemporary and electroacoustic music, but also to composition.

Gwenn now lives near Bell Harbour in the heart of the Burren in County Clare. There on Ireland’s wild and beautiful west coast, the culture of Irish traditional music is rich, strong and plentiful. She leads a weekly Irish traditional music session with guitarist Rob Steine in Kinvara, County Galway. Also interested in Indian classical Hindustani music, she spent last winter in India studying Bansuri flute with Ravi Shankar Mishra.

Irish traditional music is mostly an oral based tradition with the tunes being passed from one person to the next. As part of that tradition, Gwenn has taught flute and tin-whistle to adults and children in groups and individual classes. Having studied both traditional and classical music (piano), she combines both methods to teach pupils the instrument and a basic knowledge of music theory. Her method emphasises oral memory and pitch.

Gwenn-Frin plays a tune on a new Martin Doyle boxwood flute.

Gwenn-Frin plays a tune on a new Martin Doyle boxwood flute.

The west of Ireland offers many opportunities for outdoor activities and Gwenn enjoys keeping fit and healthy through a number of physical pursuits. These include swimming, sea-kayaking, surfing, hill-running, cycling and road races. Gwenn recently competed in a 10 km race and was first woman home with a respectable time of 48 minutes. In 2007 she finished the Dublin City Marathon in 3 hours and 55 minutes.

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