Category Archives: Musicians

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 …

Aoife Doyle Releases New Album

Martin Doyle‘s daughter Aoife Doyle is an accomplished jazz singer who has just released her second album entitled ‘Clouds’. Differing from Aoife’s debut album, Clouds is a collection of original songs. These words from an article announcing the release on the Music Network website:

Clouds - a newly released album by Aoife Doyle

Clouds – a newly released album by Aoife Doyle

Aoife’s unique, expressive voice is equally at home with jazz, folk, country, bluegrass or blues, and her singing can evoke memories of the sophisticated, velvet tones of Ella Fitzgerald, the earthy, sweet lyricism of Patsy Cline or the straight‐up country clarity of Alison Krauss. Backed by Johnny Taylor’s subtle piano, Andrew Csibi’s inventive bass and Dominic Mullan’s sensitive percussion, the band has won much deserved critical acclaim.

Speaking about the CD, Aoife says, “We are delighted to release this collection of songs, our first album of original music. Our sound has developed a lot in the last few years and the fruits can be heard on this CD. Creatively we have come a long way. Music Network’s support has been imperative to this development. Their understanding of the elements that contribute to the development of an artist are undeniable. To avail of the support and experience Music Network has to offer has been a privilege I am most grateful for.”

Full details of the release of Clouds can be viewed here »

Reviews for Aoife’s debut album, ‘This Time the Dream’s on Me’:

“Doyle’s singing is coming from a deeper, more natural place too, with a feeling for the blues learnt from Billie Holiday and the rare ability to improvise vocally.”

“Her swinging quartet includes some of the best young players on the Dublin Scene.”

More reviews here »

Our congratulations to Aoife and the accomplished quartet of musicians that back her! Here is the title track from Clouds.

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.

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).

Eimear McGeown Comments On MDF Headjoint

Martin Doyle is always grateful to receive feedback on his work as a flute maker and he was thrilled to read a post on the Facebook page of Irish flautist Eimear McGeown recently with regards to a wooden headjoint that he made for Eimear’s concert flute. It runs thus:

“Really enjoying my new Martin Doyle Flutes wooden headjoint for my classical flute!!! Have lots of really exciting new music to learn on it for the Budapest recital [Eimear is offering a recital and masterclass at the Budapest Flute Academy in Hungary, March 10—13, 2016], including two new pieces written for me by Alicia Hart and Philip Hammond!”

Eimear McGeown's Headjoint

Eimear McGeown’s Martin Doyle Flutes Wooden Headjoint (photo credit: Eirmear McGeown’s Facebook page)

We look forward to hearing more from Eimear in the near futue and wish her well in Budapest.

For more information, kindly visit: Wooden Headjoints for Concert Flutes »

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 …

Finding Your Instrument

We recently received a message from our Kiwi friend Shardul that ran thus:

“Hi Martin,
The attached article was posted on a blog that has now gone the way of the dinosaurs, struck by the asteroid of disinterest. It is about my own experience and views on music, the importance of finding an instrument that suits ones nature, needs and abilities, and how I got started playing the flute – which is where you come in to the picture. Anyway, if you feel that it is a story worth telling, perhaps your blog would be a good home for my humble scribblings. I shall leave it in your hands to do with as you wish.
Kind regards,
Shardul.”

And so, we present…

Finding Your Instrument

Instrument bazaar in Morocco

Instrument bazaar in Morocco. Photo: Fez – themazzons

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be blessed with the wonderful ability to get music out of just about any musical instrument they lay their hands on? (I have a friend who I swear could wring a tune from a damp sponge if he wanted to!) Then there are those of us who, though devoted music lovers, struggle to express ourselves even on one instrument. The later is my category – or so I thought.

“Music; the greatest good that mortals know, and all of heaven we have below.”
    – Joseph Addison.

For those who are left in awe of the musically gifted creed, we may be doing them and ourselves something of a disservice. First of all, we have not witnessed the many hours of practice that these ‘fortunate maestros’ have put into their music training. Some survive on raw talent but most have to work hard at it. Secondly it is a fatal mistake to compare oneself to others – probably the numero uno inspiration killer – because we develop the ‘Oh, I could never ever be like that’ syndrome! We are all unique and carry within us the quintessential seeds of creativity. Thirdly, for those of us whose creativity-seeds are still in the early stages of germination, there is the thought that we may not yet have found our instrument – that divine implement that was made ‘just for me’, perfectly suits our personality and allows the creative outlet that we have always yearned for. There is truth in this – I know it for a fact because it took me some four and a half decades to find the instrument that I did not even know I was looking for!

So I write with the intension of encouraging kindred-souls who are still holding to the hope that they may yet get a chance to play the music that they hear and feel inside their hearts and minds. Here is my story …

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