Category Archives: Irish Traditional Music

Martin Doyle Interviewed on The West Wind

The Willie Clancy Summer School

The Willie Clancy Summer School, Milltown Malbay, County Clare, Ireland.

July in Ireland means many things to many people, no doubt. It’s mid-summer for one thing and the sun brings welcome warmth to the land, so there must be some joy in most hearts. For the Irish traditional music fraternity though, July means only one thing: the annual Willie Clancy Summer School which is held in Milltown Malbay, County Clare.

For a week or so each July, the small coastal town near Spanish Point is swamped with music teachers, students, aficionados and keen lovers of the great Irish music tradition for master classes, music sessions, concerts and all that comes with such activities. Milltown Malbay is synonymous with the famed Clare musician Willie Clancy (1918—1973) who was a great exponent of the uilleann pipes specifically and Irish traditional music in general.

July and the Willie Clancy also means a busy time for the local instrument makers like Martin Doyle. Being a flute maker of renowned, he also attracts a fair bit of attention during the Willie Clancy without even leaving his property near Liscannor. The path to his home and workshop is well trodden each July with requests for flute purchases, orders and repairs. Old friendships are renewed and new ones forged over a cup of tea, some chin-wag and and, no doubt, a tune or two.

Claire Keville

Musician, music teacher and broadcaster Claire Keville.

A local radio station, Clare FM, is one of the foremost promoters of traditional Irish music broadcasting in Ireland today. They have a popular programme called The West Wind which has been interviewing all sorts of people who are involved in the Willy Clancy week. Musician, music teacher and broadcaster Claire Keville was live on The Clare FM Cruiser in Milltown Malbay on July the 4th where she interviewed Martin Doyle and his good friend Ronan Browne who is a renowned piper from Conamara in County Galway.

The two friends feature at the beginning of Claire’s set of interviews for that day. They talk about Martin’s flute making, and Martin and Ronan play a couple of tunes together on their Martin Doyle flutes. Well worth a listen, as is the rest of the programme. Click the play button below to hear the show …

November 2016 Music Picks

To celebrate the Irish mid-autumn, we feature two video clips that have recently captured Martin Doyle‘s ear. The first is a video of Barbara Maria Willi (harpsichord) and Jana Semerádová (flute) performing a JS Bach Andante composition. Martin is a big fan of Jana’s flute playing and was very pleased to met her at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music in September, 2015.

The second is a video clip of the legendary Ronan Browne playing Uilleann Pipes. Martin and Ronan enjoy a friendship that goes back many years and they also share a mutual appreciation for each other as musicians. Martin recently commented that “Ronan’s music is as as honest as you’ll find”. Here’s Ronan’s latest video clip which was recorded in Annagh in the County Clare.

The full version of this video, which includes Ronan’s introduction in Gaeilge, can be viewed here: HUP MILLTOWN Ronan Browne »

Much thanks to Jana and Ronan for their efforts and integrity – it’s a privilege to hear this music.

Eimear And Martin Playing Tunes

Irish flautist Eimear McGeown has just returned to Ireland from the Budapest Flute Academy in Hungary and she stopped in for a quick visit with Martin Doyle at his workshop in the County Clare today. As is often the case when musicians get together, one thing led to another and this took place…

Playing a few tunes with Martin Doyle Flutes in his workshop on his new style of Irish flutes. This one is boxwood, they're going to be great starter flutes…

Posted by Eimear McGeown – Flute on Thursday, 31 March 2016

The tunes are Tom Ward’s Downfall and Anderson’s – both reels.

The Clareman’s Trumpet

In March 2014, Martin Doyle was visited at his home in the County Clare by Robert Harris and Finola Finlay, who is a childhood friend of Martin’s. Robert had just taken part in a concertina school with the renowned Clare musician Noel Hill in Ballyvaughan, and subsequently wrote an article about the concertina (an instrument that is colloquially known as ‘the Clareman’s Trumpet’), and the musicians and instrument makers that are sprinkled liberally throughout Clare. Robert’s article can be viewed here: The Clare Trumpet »

Martin Doyle and Finola Finlay

Martin Doyle with his childhood friend Finola Finlay at his workshop in the County Clare

Here is a video clip of Noel Hill playing two reels on the concertina (starts at about 0.55).

The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

Here’s a couple of lovely video clips featuring two renowned Irish musicians playing the Uillean pipes. The first is a duet featuring our good friend Ronan Browne performing with Jimmy O’Brien Moran at the Morpeth Chantery Bagpipe Museum in Northumberland, England.
The second features Ronan Browne performing solo on his James Kenna pipes that date back to the 1780s. This clip was recorded in the Chapter House of St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland, and includes some explanation about the Kenna set in the context of the evolution of Uillean pipes. Hope you enjoy these wee treats …

Martin Doyle Visits New Zealand

In the final three weeks of 2014, Martin Doyle abandoned the Irish winter for a well earned vacation in the form of a first time visit to New Zealand and the unique experience of Christmas in a sunny southern summer. After an epic thirty-six hour journey via London, Abu Dhabi and Sydney, Martin finally arrived in Christchurch which is in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island. During his stay in Christchurch, Martin was involved in a couple of informal music sessions that were held at The Lotus-Heart vegetarian restaurant.

An informal music session at The Lotus-Heart.

An informal music session at The Lotus-Heart – from left: Shardul, Martin Doyle, John Wood and Jade Bell.

Martin also enjoyed a visit with local musicians Jade Bell and John Wood who live at Fisherman’s Point at the southern tip of Lake Ellesmere. Jade and John perform as a folk duo around Christchurch and were also involved in The Lotus-Heart sessions.

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Eimear McGeown Accepts A Challenge

A wee note highlighting a Facebook post by the brilliant Irish flautist Eimear McGeown. Eimear was recently challenged by her sister Erin to participate in the ‘Trad Tune Challenge‘ which aims to raise funds for the St. Patrick’s Hospital Foundation.

For the challenge Eimear plays a lovely slow air on a recently completed keyed Irish flute made by Martin Doyle. To hear the piece, click on the image below…

Eimear McGeown

Eimear McGeown playing a slow air on a Martin Doyle keyed flute for her Trad Tune Challenge