Martin Doyle has long dreamed of making flutes using timbers that have been produced in environmentally friendly and socially equitable modes. In recent years, Martin has been involved in a number of projects that have highlight a movement toward that reality and he has participated in the making of three radio documentaries highlighting the sustainable use of African Blackwood – Mpingo as the valued tonewood is known in east Africa. Martin is the first flute maker to produce an Irish flute from FSC certified African Blackwood having received a small amount of the timber some months ago.
Martin Doyle with the newly arrived FSC certified African Blackwood.
This week Martin received his first full shipment of FSC certified African Blackwood which prompted the following comment:
“The arrival of this timber gives us the feeling of working in a sustainable environment that is genuinely beneficial to the people of Tanzania and we are very happy to be participating in a chain of events that has a positive outcome for everyone involved. It’s a great joy!”
Martin thinks that this shipment of timber has been harvested from the sustainably managed Mpingo forests around the village of Kikoli in eastern Tanzania – an area Martin visited during his trip to Tanzania in 2009. Martin’s plan is to be using FSC certified African Blackwood exclusively from the beginning of 2012 as his present stock of material diminishes. The flutes made from the FSC certified timber will be stamped accordingly.
Martin Doyle has for a number of years supported the sustainable use of African Blackwood (aka Grenadilla and Mpingo) – a unique tone wood that grows only in east Africa and has been used extensively by instrument makers throughout the world for over two centuries. He has recently produced his first flute made from African Blackwood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
In the past, Martin has been involved in producing documentaries for radio which explore the use and conservation of African Blackwood. This included Sounding Post and The Music Tree which were both produced by Nina Perry of Falling Tree Productions. In 2009, in the process of making of The Music Tree, Martin travelled to Tanzania with Nina where he saw first hand the efforts being made to manage the sustainable replanting and harvesting of African Blackwood. The local people who live in and around the Mpingo forests are now involved in all phases of the procedure and are reaping their share in the profits as well – a welcome stimulation to their economy that raises the standard of living.
Joe Doyle playing Martin Doyle’s first flute made from FSC certified African Blackwood (Mpingo).
Martin was also interviewed regarding the flutes he is making using FSC certified Blackwood by Peter Browne of Ireland’s RTÉ Radio 1 and featured on Peter’s The Rolling Wave programme.
Joe Doyle (one of Martin Doyle’s two sons, pictured right) was recently visiting Martin for a few days at his home near Liscannor in County Clare. A talented musician himself, Joe had the chance to play the first of the new flutes made from FSC certified African Blackwood and a recording was made that can be heard here: The Green Fields of Rosbeigh by Joe Doyle – Flute Music »