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…
With the Willie Clancy Summer School happening at Miltown Malbay in the County Clare each year, the middle of summer becomes a busy time for Martin Doyle. There is a steady stream of visitors to his house near Liscannor and, when he gets a chance, Martin heads into Miltown Malbay to socialise and catch a session or two. Flutes to deliver, orders to take – the busy life of an artisan flute maker!
During the Willie Clancy, Miltown Malbay is packed with hundreds of visitors, musicians, singers and dancers, young and old, from all over Ireland, Scotland and further afield. Standing room only! Traditional music flows like the water in the rivers and streams of Ireland and a unique traditional culture lives, breathes and is propagated during this ‘gathering of the clan’.
One visitor Martin had the opportunity to welcome into his home this year was the renowned flute player, tin whistler and singer Cathal McConnell, who gifted to Martin a copy of his latest CD, Auld Springs Gies Nae Price. Needless to say, Martin was thrilled at Cathal’s kind gesture. Auld Springs Gies Nae Price is a joint effort between Cathal McConnell and Duncan Wood. A multi-instrumentalist musician, artist and author, Duncan Wood hails from the North East of Scotland and plays fiddle on the album.
Like most developed flute players, it is probably a safe bet that Cathal has more than one flute in his quiver. If that is the case, we know that at least one of them is the Martin Doyle C flute as it features in one of the tracks on Auld Springs Gies Nae Price and with Cathal on the CDs jacket photos. The track in question (track eight) comprises two lovely airs, The Fairy Strain and The Hon Mrs Maule of Panmure’s Favourite, and is introduced in the CDs accompanying booklet thus:
As recently posted on this weblog, Martin Doyle featured on a radio programme called The Music Tree. As the The Music Tree is about the Mpingo (African Blackwood) tree and its popular timber that is used extensively for the production of woodwind instruments, one of the requirements for the programme was some Irish traditional music that was predominated by the Irish flute. This task fell upon Martin Doyle to organise.
Asides from making great Irish flutes, Martin is also an Aikido instructor who offers classes at the town hall in Liscannor, County Clare – the Aikido group is known as Clare Aikikai. One of the many wonderful aspects of the County Clare is that music is an integral part of the culture there – musicians, singers and story tellers abound in Clare as they do all over the west of Ireland. And so it is with Martin’s Aikido group. Four of the members are strong traditional musicians so Martin got them together after an Aikido session one evening and they recorded a very nice piece of traditional music – and The Aiki Céilí Band was born!
The Aiki Céilí Band consists of Martin Doyle (flute), Éamon McCarthy (flute), Frank Healy (double bass) and Gabrielle Cappachione (guitar). Featured on The Music Tree documentary, the piece consists of two reels and can also be listened to here: The Aiki Céilí Band – Flute Music »
Martin Doyle has just published a new website that introduces his Aikido classes to the world via the internet.
Martin Doyle first became interested in Aikido in 1987 at the recommendation of a friend and is now a nidan (2nd Dan (rank)) Aikido instructor – or sensei (teacher) in Japanese. He offers twice weekly Aikido classes for adults and children at Liscannor, County Clare.
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the Way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the Way of harmonious spirit.” Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Read more: Aikido »
For more information about Martin Doyle’s aikido classes in Liscannor, visit: Clare Aikikai »
Gwenn Frin is a wooden flute player who has been assisting Martin Doyle for the past few months and learning about the art of flute making. Originally from Brittany in France, a cultural region that has historic ties to the Celts and also has a very strong culture of folk music, Gwenn fell in love with the simple system wooden flute (also known as Irish flute) at an early age. The instrument has been an major part of her life ever since and has brought her to many countries around the world including Ireland, Korea and the United States.
Gwenn first performed with the Cercle Celtique de Rennes (who are coming to Cork in July of this year) where she was introduced to the traditional music and dances of Brittany before playing for the dancers themselves. Her true professional debut were with the band Beaj Iskis in the early 1990s, which toured the Fest Noz scene in Brittany for four years. Gwenn moved to Galway, Ireland in 1998, drawn to the roots of her passion, and took classes with renowned flute player Harry Bradley.
In 1999, Gwenn moved to Dublin to concentrate solely on her flute playing while completing a Higher National Diploma In Traditional Music performance (Ceoltóir) directed by flute player Paul McGrattan. This last experience led her to doing a Master’s degree in Music and Media Technologies in Trinity College, Dublin. These amazing two years transformed her musical understanding and experience and opened up her musical horizons not only to contemporary and electroacoustic music, but also to composition.
Outside of flute making and music, one of Martin Doyle’s main interests is the practice of Aikido – a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba. Martin has been practicing Aikido with Irish Aikido Federation in Bray, County Wicklow, for more than two decades. Since moving to County Clare, has been offering regular Aikido classes at the Liscannor Community Hall.
“Aikido can be summed up like this: True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly! “True victory” means unflinching courage; “self-victory” symbolises unflagging effort; and “let that day arrive quickly” represents the glorious moment of triumph in the here and now.” – Morihei Ueshiba.
Martin also offers free Zen meditation classes for beginners at the Liscannor Community Hall on Tuesday nights before the Aikido session. More information here can be found here: Clare Aikikai »