Category Archives: Flute Making

The Day We Went To Sligo

September 26 this year saw Martin Doyle attend the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music where he had been invited to have a instrument makers stall and offer a workshop on Baroque flute making.

Martin Doyle's stall at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

Martin Doyle’s stall at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

Reflecting on the event, Martin commented that he had a wonderful time, met some lovely people and attended some excellent workshops and recitals.

Recital at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music

Members of the Collegium Marianum offer a recital at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

One of the people who really impressed Martin was the Czech flute player Jana Semerádová, whose Baroque flute master class and recitals Martin attended. The following is a video clip of Jana performing a concerto in G major for flute by the Italian Baroque composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini with members of the Collegium Marianum.

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Martin Doyle To Attend Sligo Festival Of Baroque Music

The Model, County SligoThe three day 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music commences on September the 25th and Martin Doyle has been invited by the festival’s organisers to attend as an artisan exhibiter and to offer a flute making workshop.

Martin has been making simple system Irish flutes since the early 1980s and his first batch of Baroque flutes were crafted in 2000. Modelling his Baroque flutes on an eighteenth century Rottenburgh flute design, Martin has made several batches since and generally uses either boxwood or African Blackwood.

Martin Doyle Baroque Flute made of Boxwood

Martin Doyle Baroque Flute made of Boxwood

The 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music is being held at The Model in Sligo and Martin Doyle’s Flute Maker Workshop begins at 11 am on Saturday September the 26th.

More information here: 2015 Programme of Events »

Kind Words From Matthew Laurie

Matthew Laurie

Matthew Laurie

As mentioned in previous posts, Martin Doyle sometimes receives messages from people who have purchased flutes from him and write to compliment and thank him for his efforts. These kind comments are sometimes posted on Martin’s website, with the permission of the authors, and Martin recently received a very nice comment from Matthew Laurie – a community musician and storyteller from Derbyshire in England. These are Matthew’s kind words:

Hi Martin,
The flute [boxwood Celtic style flute] arrived today and I am in love! It is simply stunning and is far and away the finest flute that I have played and owned. I am amazed at the expressive range that I can achieve even on the first day of playing it. This flute will inspire me to play and practice more – I am very happy indeed. Thank you!

Some two weeks later Matthew commented to this webmaster that the flute had indeed inspired and helped him to practice more and to play at a higher level. I mentioned this to Martin Doyle who made the following comment:

Well for me the whole point of this flute making game is to make flutes that bring the players on – that’s my intention. Otherwise there would be no point in doing it.

Fair play to you Martin.

Matthew’s kind words and those of many other flute players can be viewed here: Testimonials »

Martin Doyle Flutes’ 30th Anniversary

Martin Doyle Flutes : 1983—2013

Martin Doyle Flutes' 30th Anniversary : 1983-2013 This year marks the 30th anniversary since Martin Doyle began his odyssey as a flute maker. No hoopla, probably not going to have a party, have put a little logo on the homepage of the website – that’s about it folks! Life goes on, flute orders come in, and Martin feels that the best way to celebrate is to carry on with the creative process that he began with and try all the time to improve his flute designs with the people who will play them in mind. This ethos has always been to the fore in his heart and mind from the outset and continues to drive him today.

A Message From Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

“I would like to thank everyone for their support over the past thirty or so years. There are many dear friends who have been very encouraging and supportive through this process and that includes my family of course. I have also been very grateful to receive kind and encouraging comments from people all over the world who have purchased my flutes.

“I consider the act of creating instruments for musicians a privilege that cannot be understated. It is also a journey of partnership that requires the interplay and focus of both parties – the flute maker and the flute player. This has helped me to evolve and has also kept me inspired and active in the field of flute making. In my view these are sacred connections in the eternal quest for expression through the universal language that is music.

THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH! – Martin.”

A Tune To Celebrate


Tune: The Flute Maker Martin Doyle – by Joe Doyle.

Kind Comments From Garry Shannon

Martin Doyle has just received a very kind testimonial from the renowned left-handed flute player Garry Shannon after Martin finished a keyed flute for him. These are Garry’s words:

“Martin is an affable craftsman in whose workshop time means nothing. He will generously spend hours discussing his craft. Despite his laid-back manner, he will not leave you waiting years for your new instrument. I have been recommending Martin Doyle flutes to my students for many years due to their tonality, volume and after-sales service. Last year, I finally took the plunge myself and put aside my beloved flute of twenty years for a new custom-made Doyle model and I have never looked back.”

More kind comments from flute players all over the world can be viewed here: Testimonials »

About Garry Shannon

Irish flute player Garry Shannon

Irish flute player Garry Shannon

Garry Shannon is the eldest of a celebrated County Clare family of musicians which includes Sharon Shannon (accordion) and Mary Shannon (banjo).

Garry won the senior All-Ireland flute title in 1988 and has since played with a number of respected groups. He is a member of the legendary Kilfenora Ceili Band which is based in Kilfenora, County Clare, has recorded three solo albums, teaches flute extensively and is co-ordinator of the Irish music residential summer school Meitheal.
Read more: Profile – Garry Shannon »

FSC Certified Blackwood Arrives

Martin Doyle has long dreamed of making flutes using timbers that have been produced in environmentally friendly and socially equitable modes. In recent years, Martin has been involved in a number of projects that have highlight a movement toward that reality and he has participated in the making of three radio documentaries highlighting the sustainable use of African BlackwoodMpingo as the valued tonewood is known in east Africa. Martin is the first flute maker to produce an Irish flute from FSC certified African Blackwood having received a small amount of the timber some months ago.

Martin Doyle with the newly arrived FSC certified African Blackwood.

Martin Doyle with the newly arrived FSC certified African Blackwood.

This week Martin received his first full shipment of FSC certified African Blackwood which prompted the following comment:

“The arrival of this timber gives us the feeling of working in a sustainable environment that is genuinely beneficial to the people of Tanzania and we are very happy to be participating in a chain of events that has a positive outcome for everyone involved. It’s a great joy!”

Martin thinks that this shipment of timber has been harvested from the sustainably managed Mpingo forests around the village of Kikoli in eastern Tanzania – an area Martin visited during his trip to Tanzania in 2009. Martin’s plan is to be using FSC certified African Blackwood exclusively from the beginning of 2012 as his present stock of material diminishes. The flutes made from the FSC certified timber will be stamped accordingly.

Conversations on the Coast

In September of 2010, Bristolian Nick Hand visited Martin Doyle at his workshop in Clare. After recording a conversation with Martin and taking a raft of photographs in Martin’s workshop, Nick created a ‘soundslide’ that has been included on his Slowcoast website – one of dozens of inspirational soundslides that he has created during his cycle tours around the coastal regions of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Conversations on the Coast – by Nick Hand

Conversations on the Coast – by Nick Hand

Nick has just released Conversations on the Coast – a beautifully presented hardcover publication offering a selection of twenty stories and photography from the Slowcoast project.

Conversations on the Coast brings together artists and craftspeople from around the British Isles who talk about their work, their life and their passion.

“What I love most about this book is the humility of actually quite ordinary artisans chosen by chance as they came into focus on one man’s remarkable journey around the coast. What we learn is that when you take the time to look, even the apparently straight forward lives of a bicycle repairer, hat maker or basket weaver are driven by passion and a deep seated love for their work. It is inspirational.” – Robin Wood, Chair of The Heritage Crafts Association.

Nick Hand’s visit with Martin Doyle has been included in the book and Martin was delighted to receive a copy by post this week.

Nick Hand cycled his way through some beautiful landscapes and interviewed some very interesting souls.

Nick Hand cycled his way through some beautiful landscapes and interviewed some very interesting souls.

Related

Martin Doyle Article On Sound & Fair

Sound & Fair – a campaign to realise a sustainable trade in African blackwood.Sound & Fair is an organisation that aims to realise a sustainable trade in African blackwood through a Chain of Custody linking forest-dependent people in Tanzania to woodwind instrument musicians throughout the world.

Martin Doyle has recently been featured in a Sound & Fair news item regarding a new batch of Irish flutes that he has produced from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified African Blackwood – a ‘world’s first’ for the flute making community. Martin’s concern for conservation and the conscious use of timber goes back to when he first began working with wood. In the Sound & Fair article he comments:

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Martin Doyle Wins RDS National Craft Award

July 27, 2011

Martin Doyle receives the 2011 RDS Crafts Competition Award

Martin Doyle receives the 2011 RDS Crafts Competition Award (Musical Instruments category).

Martin Doyle has just received the honour of being awarded first prize in the ‘Musical Instruments’ category of the 2011 RDS National Crafts Competition. The award was for a nine key flute made of cocus wood that Martin finished in April.

Martin drove from County Clare to Dublin with his apprentice Gwenn Frin on Wednesday to accept the award and they were joined at the RDS ceremony by Martin’s long-time friend and Aikido teacher Sean MacRuairi (John Rogers).

Martin Doyle has previously entered his flutes in two craft competitions winning major awards on both occasions. He was awarded the Crafts Council of Ireland Medal in 1985 (with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood) and the prestigious RDS California Gold Medal (overall winner) in 1993 (also with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood). Delighted by the encouragement of winning this years award, Martin had this to say:

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Bob Denton’s Photos Of Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle portrait by Bob Denton

Martin Doyle portrait – by Bob Denton.

A number of photographs have just been added to Martin Doyle’s Photostream on Flickr. They were taken by Bob Denton who has been Martin’s friend since the 1970s.

Bob Denton is a photographer and musician who plays guitar, mandolin, claw hammer banjo and tin whistle. Originally from South Africa, Bob is credited with starting the Barleycorn Music Club on Woodbridge Island, Cape Town, in 1975. He also compèred and performed at many South African Folk Festivals.

In the realm of photography, Bob worked for Deegan Photo on Leeson Street in Dublin during the early 1970s and took the photo of the Book of Kells which was used on the one and five punt notes in Ireland. He also took many of the photographs for the Doors of Dublin poster originally produced by Borde Failte.

Bob first met Martin Doyle when he moved to Bray in County Wicklow in the early 1970s. Martin, a native of Bray, had just begun to play the banjo and he and Bob would play together regularly.

Bob Denton

Bob Denton with his trusty banjo and Doolin t-shirt! (Photo credit: Bob’s Facebook page.)

View Bob’s photographs here: Bob Denton’s photos of Martin Doyle – February, 2011 »