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…
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.
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 »
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:
Art in Action is a three-day arts and crafts festival held every June Bank Holiday Weekend. Top artists and craftspeople from many different disciplines are invited to set up studios, stalls and workshops to demonstrate their work and skills live. Over a hundred craft, fine, liberal and performing artists demonstrate and sell their art to the public. An extensive range of children and adult art classes are also available, all set in the lovely house and grounds of Townley Hall near Drogheda in County Louth, Ireland. Art in Action is affiliated to the John Scottus School.
Art in Action is organised and staffed by the School of Philosophy, an educational charity in Dublin (CHY 5791). Everyone who contributes to the organisation and staffing of the event does so entirely on a voluntary basis and without payment of any kind. This is at the core of the ethos of Art in Action and contributes to its unique atmosphere – about which both visitors and artists frequently comment.
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 »
Martin Doyle has just received a very nice testimonial from Paul MaCarthy – a self professed ‘flute player for the fun of it’ – who hails from Clonmel in County Tipperary. Paul’s kind comments are as follows:
“Having played other flutes (mainly African Blackwood with headliner) and been dissatisfied with their somewhat capricious nature, I started searching for an instrument which did not have these flaws. After scratching around the country on and off for months and visiting several well respected flute makers, I failed to find what I was looking for. Maybe it was me and not the flutes but I found them very unacceptably fickle.
Eventually in the autumn of 2005 I found myself in a snug workshop in Bray talking with a very relaxed and affable flute maker who invited me to sit into the corner and try any flute I could find. There were several on a rack on the table next to me so I started with the one closest to me and worked my way along about 7 or 8 of them. Being of a methodical nature, I played the same tune (a slip jig called A Fig For A Kiss) on each of them to better judge their performance. All were sweet toned, balanced and uncapricious. Then my eye lit on it. A nice looking Cocuswood, unkeyed, unlined flute at the end of the rack. The feeling I got on playing those first few notes I can still recall. Absolutely gorgeous tone, weight and balance, not a hint of fickleness and with that lovely soft, mellow reverberation which comes with good tone. Low D? No problem. Another fifteen minutes playing passed interspersed with question and answers with Martin. The decision to buy this particular flute was not made by me nor by Martin but by the flute. This thing of beauty is of the rare sort and gives massive enjoyment.
Thanks are not enough Martin Doyle!”
Thank you Paul – your kind words are great encouragement!
More comments from flute players all over the world can be viewed here: Testimonials »
With the Irish spring in the air, the three piece music ensemble Rune are looking forward to their first post-winter concert.
Rune is a three piece ensemble consisting of Elizabeth Petcu (flutes) Martin Doyle (flutes) and Deborah Armstrong (piano). They will be performing on April 19 at the Camphill Village Community Duffcarrig near Ballymoney in County Wexford.
More details can be found here:
About Rune – Upcoming Concerts »
During my trip to Ireland in May, I was invited by Martin Doyle to attend a small but lively gathering of Irish traditional musicians at Millmount in the historic town of Drogheda, County Louth. I took the train from Dublin and arrived in time to have breakfast overlooking the River Boyne. Despite the drizzling rain, I was captured by the feeling of the place – it’s rich history dating from the Neolithic period was something that can be felt in the atmosphere of the town. My friend Martin has a deep fondness for Drogheda and the general areas of Loath and it’s immediate neighbour, County Meath. That part of Ireland, with it’s strong music tradition, has always been close to his heart. Very keen to attend the festival, Martin left his home in County Clare at 7am and joined us in Drogheda for morning tea!
For the past four years Drogheda has hosted the week long Drogheda Arts Festival. Among the festival’s numerous events is an Irish traditional music component known as the Traditional Day in Millmount. Martin Doyle was invited to attend as a flute maker and traditional musician and he gladly agreed to participate. Also in attendance at Millmount was Martin’s good friend Ronan Browne, the renowned piper Seán McKiernan, stalwart Irish traditional musician, singer and organiser of the Traditional Day in Millmount Seán Corcoran (Seán and Ronan, along with Desi Wilkinson, are members of the Irish traditional music group Cran), Uilleann pipe maker Bill Haneman, flute maker John Hughes and Uilleann pipes aficionado Ken McLeod.
Discover all that Millmount has to offer by joining us for a traditional music day. From 12pm until 5pm the festival presents activities for all the family, including an outdoor ceili session, Irish dancing, story telling and live outdoor performances… Exhibitions include ‘A History of Piping in Drogheda’ presented by Na Píobairí Uilleann in the Millmount Centre…