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 …
Luthier and boat builder Nikos Apollonio with one of his bell citterns.
“No, it’s a cittern. Just got it. The maker, Nikos Apollonio, who is from Maine, dropped it off himself this morning and I haven’t been able to put it down since!”
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.