The particular flute that Shardul is playing is a three keyed D-flat flute made from African Blackwood that was in fact originally made for Sri Chinmoy. It was commissioned by Maral Siegel of New York who is also a student of Sri Chinmoy, and was presented to Sri Chinmoy at the Royal Albert Hall in London by Martin himself after the Master’s peace concert there in 2003 at a post concert function. Unfortunately an injury to one of Sri Chinmoy’s hands prevented him from playing the flute for very long and it was returned to Maral who eventually gave it to Shardul as a gift a couple of years later.
Since that time, Shardul has played Sri Chinmoy’s music in a wide variety of public spaces including hospitals. Encouraged by Sri Chinmoy who once told him that soulful, meditative music would help to alleviate humanity’s sufferings, Shardul has played regularly in hospitals in Auckland and Christchurch – particularly in the large ten floor glass topped atrium in the central Auckland hospital where some of the documentary footage was shot.
We hope you enjoy the video clip and we would also like to offer everyone our best wishes for the New Year. May your hopes and dreams bear fruit and bring you joy, peace and fulfilment in 2017. Kind regards from Martin Doyle and his team.
Double bass (Frank Healy) and flute (Martin Doyle) in action.
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 is currently visiting Tanzania with Nina Perry of Falling Tree Productions to make a radio documentary called The Music Tree for the Irish radio station Newstalk. The Music Tree will feature Martin Doyle as an instrument maker visiting the area of East Africa where the Mpingo (African Blackwood) trees grow. Since the nineteenth century African Blackwood has been a timber favoured for woodwind instruments as its density, tonal properties, stability and durability are incomparable.
This trip is in its own way an historical occasion as many of the local people of Tanzania, some of whom are involved in burgeoning Mpingo conservation projects, have never before met a European craftsman who uses their timber to make musical instruments. Martin accomplished the task of making a flute with some of the local Mpingo carvers on the third day of his visit and by all accounts they were enthralled when it was played to them.
Nina Perry is kindly authoring a blog dedicated to the trip – Music Tree – so that we distant onlookers can keep abreast of events. No story, small or large, is complete without a picture or two, so here is one from Nina’s blog: