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…
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 »
Here is a video clip of Noel Hill playing two reels on the concertina (starts at about 0.55).
Reflecting on the event, Martin commented that he had a wonderful time, met some lovely people and attended some excellent workshops and recitals.
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.
Martin Doyle has a page on his website entitled In Praise of Wooden Flutes which presents a poem of the same name by Martin’s friend Biddy Jenkinson. Biddy, an Irish poet, short story writer and dramatist who writes in the Irish language, also sent Martin a poem that eulogises their mutual friend Nuala Níc Con Iomaire who passed away on July 16, 2010. That poem, Nuala, is reproduced below.
The 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.
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 »
If you read the previous post, you will be aware that Martin Doyle spent a couple of weeks visiting friends (and making more) in Christchurch, New Zealand, over the 2014 Christmas period. On arrival Martin was quite ill with a heavy cold that he had caught in Clare the day before he left, which incubated very nicely during the 36 hours of air travel he had to endure to reach the far side of the world.
It is a matter of fact that bugs also like to travel and so it came to pass that Martin’s Kiwi friend and host Shardul caught a downgraded, second-hand, left-over version of the vicious and virulent virus. Life went on like this for a few short (and sometimes long) days and while the two were in convalescence mode one night, it was decided that a good movie would help clear the head-fog. The conversation revolving around which movie to watch went something like this…
Shardul: “Hey Martin, can you recommend a movie? I think we need to zone out for an hour or two.”
Martin: “Have a look at Becoming Jane.”
S: “Never heard of it. Is it any good?”
M: “Of course it’s good – I’m in it!”
S: “You’re in a movie?!?”
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.
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.
Martin Doyle gets his fair share of visitors to his home and workshop in County Clare and they come from near and far. This week saw a small group of intrepid Kiwis pop in for a ‘cuppa and a chat’. Nearing the conclusion of a two week walking tour through the west of Ireland, the happy and hardy group were spending a couple of days in the area with visits to local artisans, walking the Burren and a night on Inis Meáin (one of the Aran Islands). Martin and his assistant Gwenn Frin were delighted to receive the guests who hailed from New Zealand, the US and Canada.
The tours are led by County Limerick native Rachel Ryan who has lived in Nelson, New Zealand, since 1980. Each year Rachel and her team guide walking tours of west Ireland and also take visitors to New Zealand on walking tours throughout the beautiful Tasman District in the north-western region of New Zealand’s South Island.
Martin has developed a connection with New Zealand since meeting his friend (and webmaster) Shardul in 2001 when Martin was still living in County Wicklow. Shardul was looking for a flute for his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy and arrived at Martin’s workshop in Bray. For a period spanning four or five years after that, Martin made a small number of Irish flutes from native New Zealand timbers that were supplied to him by his Kiwi friend. Shardul currently lives in Nelson and met Rachel Ryan at the 2012 Race Unity Day which is organised by the Nelson Multicultural Council. One thing leads to another in this world of ours…
As always, I was very pleased to receive a call from Martin Doyle via Skype this morning. The distance between Martin in Ireland and myself in New Zealand is very close to 12,000 miles. Skype allows us the illusion that we are sitting across the kitchen table from each other and so we chat regularly and sometimes play music to each other. Today our conversation went something like this:
“Good morning Martin.”
“Good evening Shardul – just a minute…”
… Martin disappears briefly and reappears with an instrument that I at first thought was a bouzouki …
Martin proceeded to play some lovely tunes on his brand spanking new cittern – a beautifully made ten string instrument with a spruce sound board, walnut body and rosewood fretboard. It looked stunning and sounded amazing! Martin commented on its quality and simplicity.
Over the years I have watched and listened to Martin sing, play whistle, Irish flute, baroque flute, concert flute, banjo, mandolin and bouzouki – now the cittern. In my opinion, he is a very good musician who plays music from his heart and soul with a real love for quality of sound.
“What attracted you to the cittern”, asks I.