Martin Doyle, Sri Chinmoy And The Royal Albert Hall

Martin Doyle has not performed at the Royal Albert Hall, but he has been on the stage – and so have his flutes…

Martin Doyle presents Sri Chinmoy with a three keyed flute.

Martin Doyle presents Sri Chinmoy with a three keyed flute on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall.

On October 17, 2003, Sri Chinmoy offered a peace concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London and Martin Doyle went to see the Master perform. One of Sri Chinmoy’s students from New York had commissioned Martin to make a flute for Sri Chinmoy and he was invited to stay behind for a private post-concert function and an opportunity to present the instrument to Sri Chinmoy personally. It was a special order D flat three-key flute made of African Blackwood.

After the concert Sri Chinmoy remained on the stage while his students – several hundred in number that had come from all over the world to be at the concert – were seated in the auditorium. Martin assembled and presented the new flute to Sri Chinmoy and the Master played it for a while. He was very pleased to meet Martin and very grateful to him for the care and effort that went into creating the one-off flute. For his part, Martin was very honoured to have met Sri Chinmoy in such a way and commented that it was a unique moment in his life.

Martin Doyle watches as Sri Chinmoy tries the new flute.

Martin Doyle watches as Sri Chinmoy tries the new flute.

Audio tracks from Sri Chinmoy’s 2003 concert can be heard here:
Sri Chinmoy at the Royal Albert Hall, London »

The second event connecting Martin Doyle with the Royal Albert Hall was also a concert but not one that he personally attended. Two of his flutes were present though.

Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov

Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov during the concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

On May the 19, 2008, Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov offered a concert at the Royal Albert Hall with a large number of musicians from a wide variety of musical backgrounds. The concert was dedicated to Sri Chinmoy who had passed away on October 11, 2007.

In a prolific career that has spanned almost four decades, BG (Boris Grebenshikov) has continued to enchant his audiences with new sounds and a lyrical language that has earned him the affectionate title “Poet Laureate of Russia”.

Accompanied by an international ensemble of musicians performing on instruments from the sitar and tabla to the violin and flute, he presents a fusion of his own classic folk melodies with sounds from around the world.

“Music is an ocean. I just venture into the ocean and follow the waves.”
– Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov.

Two of the guest musicians who performed with Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov were Premik Russell Tubbs and Brian Finnegan – both flute players and owners of Martin Doyle flutes.

Premik Russell Tubbs

Premik Russell Tubbs performing during a Songs of the Soul concert.

Premik is a flutist, saxophonist, composer, arranger and producer. He has been Sri Chinmoy’s meditation student since the 1970s and his music reflects great depth of talent and a clear spiritual perspective.

[Premik] has worked with Carlos Santana, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Narada Michael Walden, and Lonnie Liston-Smith among others. He is equally at home in popular, jazz, R&B, new age and experimental styles. His composing credits also include music for sports documentaries, sketch comedies and corporate training films. (Source)

Brian Finnegan

Brian Finnegan playing a Martin Doyle flute during a Songs of the Soul concert.

Brian Finnegan is a UK based whistle and flute player from Armagh, Northern Ireland who currently plays with Flook, founded the band Upstairs in a Tent, and has also released a solo album.

“[Brian Finnegan] stands out, in a nation of wonderful flute players, as much more than a technical virtuoso, his playing having the freewheeling lightness of touch and inspired musical understanding that flows into improvisation in real time, at reel speed.” – Norman Chalmers, The List.

There was a strong Irish influence among the musicians supporting Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov’s concert. John-Joe Kelly, a Bodhrán player and also a member of Flook, was present – as was one of the world’s very few female Uilleann pipers, Becky Taylor.

By all accounts, Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov’s concert offered something for everyone – including flute maker Martin Doyle. His relationship with the Royal Albert and some of the musicians that have performed there has taken shape through his carefully hand-crafted wooden flutes – in the mould of the often silent role played by the instrument makers of this world.

Here is a video recording of Boris Purushottama Grebenshikov at the Royal Albert Hall.

Sri Chinmoy and Purushottama Boris Grebenshikov.

Sri Chinmoy meditates behind Purushottama Boris Grebenshikov while he performs during a previous concert.

After the concert featured in the photograph above, Sri Chinmoy made the following comments:

“Boris Purushottama has brought down heaven for us… he is all heart, all soul… a musician-singer of the highest order. He has brought infinite peace, infinite bliss for us.”

Some years later, Boris Purushottama had this to say of Sri Chinmoy’s music and influence:

“Sri Chinmoy would always say that musicians bring Heaven down to earth. Well, I would then say that he was a musician of the highest order. He made everyday life music, he brought down Heaven into this life on a twenty-four hour basis, he made the Supreme shine through everything…”

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