Category Archives: Musicians

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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Martin Doyle Flute Features In The Peacemakers

Premik Russell Tubbs

Premik Russell Tubbs

It is most probably a fact that most flute makers do not get to know much about what the flutes they have made get up to once they have left their workshops, but there can be moments of exception.

One such moment came Martin Doyle‘s way recently when he received a very encouraging and inspirational message from veteran musician Premik Russell Tubbs regarding an event that Premik was involved with in January of 2015. That message, in part, is as follows:

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Teardrop On A Martin Doyle Flute

This recently published video clip is a cover of the Massive Attack classic Teardrop as performed by the Irish flute player Eimear McGeown on a Martin Doyle keyless D flute. A lovely piece beautifully performed by Eimear who gets great tone from the flute.

From the credits:

A cover of the song Teardrop by Massive Attack. Demo Version produced by John Tonks. Arranged by Eimear McGeown and John Tonks. Eimear McGeown – Irish Flute. Anna Jenkins – Violin/Viola.

More video clips of various musicians playing Martin Doyle flutes can be viewed on this page: Video Clips »

Martin Doyle’s Role In Becoming Jane

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?!?

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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