Tag Archives: makers

Three Instrument Makers In Ennistymon

3 Instrument Makers (and their music)

3 Instrument Makers (and their music).

The west of Ireland is particularly strong in the tradition of music and County Clare is no exception being liberally blessed with gifted musicians and artisans – past, present and, no doubt, into the future. As a result, the county is host to many events that reflect, celebrate and perpetuate this living tradition of music.

One such event (which Martin Doyle is very honoured and excited to be part of) is soon to be hosted by the The Courthouse Gallery – Ennistymon. Opening from the 19th to the 26th of November, 3 Instrument Makers (and their music) is an exhibition featuring the work and music of Martin Doyle (flute), Davey Spillane (Uilleann pipes) and Paul Dooley (harp) who all live within a bulls roar of Ennistymon.

In conjunction with the year of the craft, this unique exhibition will offer the visitor a multi media experience of film, photography, audio, as well as a chance to see a display of the exquisitely crafted instruments made by each of these musicians.

Photographer Christy McNamara, well known for his photographs of traditional musicians will be collaborating in this exhibition with a series of commissioned photographs. Also included will be a short film made by Packmule Films documenting each of the musicians at work in their workshops. In conjunction with North Clare Historical Society there will be a lecture Monday 21st at 8pm by Eugene Lambe, maker of flutes and pipes, collector of tunes and stories from Kinvara in the County Galway. This exhibition will be held in the old courthouse building in Ennistymon which has been beautifully renovated into a new art space.

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Details will no doubt be posted on the The Courthouse Gallery website »

Martin Doyle Article On Sound & Fair

Sound & Fair – a campaign to realise a sustainable trade in African blackwood.Sound & Fair is an organisation that aims to realise a sustainable trade in African blackwood through a Chain of Custody linking forest-dependent people in Tanzania to woodwind instrument musicians throughout the world.

Martin Doyle has recently been featured in a Sound & Fair news item regarding a new batch of Irish flutes that he has produced from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified African Blackwood – a ‘world’s first’ for the flute making community. Martin’s concern for conservation and the conscious use of timber goes back to when he first began working with wood. In the Sound & Fair article he comments:

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Martin Doyle, Tanzania And The Music Tree

Flutes for Africa

Mpingo logger, Tanzania.

Mpingo logger, Tanzania.

Martin Doyle is bound for the East African nation of Tanzania this coming August to take part in the production of a radio programme.

Tanzania is home to the famed Mpingo tree from which the highly valued timber known as African Blackwood is harvested. This wood has been one of the first choices for woodwind instruments such as clarinets, oboes, bag pipes and flutes for over 150 years now, but was also valued by furniture making as far back as the time of the Egyptians. It is a timber favoured for it’s density, durability and exceptional tonal qualities.

Martin Doyle is to feature in a radio programme to be called The Music Tree that is being produced for the Irish radio station Newstalk. The project is being headed by Nina Perry (who also produced Sounding Post which looks at the use of wood for instruments and featured several instrument makers including Martin Doyle) for Falling Tree Productions. This from Nina Perry:

Nina Perry

Nina Perry – music, sound and radio.

“The Music Tree is to accompany Irish flute-maker Martin Doyle from County Clare to eastern Tanzania where he plans to demonstrate Irish flute making so that accomplished local craftsmen might learn his skills to boost the economy surrounding this rare wood and, for the first time, hear the sound of instruments made from the local blackwood trees.”

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Excerpts From Sounding Post

Website Updates

Two excerpts have been added to the African Blackwood Conservation page of Martin Doyle’s web site. In May of this year, Martin Doyle featured on a BBC Radio 4 program entitled Sounding Post which was produced by Nina Perry.

“Nina Perry takes a musical journey tracing the wood used in making musical instruments back to the forest, from an Irish flute maker and a Los Angeles-based guitarist to the Mpingo Conservation Project in Tanzania.” – BBC Radio 4.

Unfortunately Sounding Post is not currently available online ( since early 2015, it can be heard here: Sounding Post ). The two excerpts that have been added to Martin’s web site feature Martin talking about flute making and playing music on a ‘fresh off the lathe’ flute. The tune that Martin plays during the course of the interview is called Na Ceannabháin Bhána.

And on that note, here is a video clip that offers another version of Na Ceannabháin Bhána played by the late Kitty Hayes (concertina) and Clare piper Peter Laban (Uilleann pipes). Recorded in May 2008 at Miltown Malbay in County Clare, Kitty and Peter play two slip jigs actually – the afore mentioned Na Ceannabháin Bhána and also Hardiman the Fiddler. Enjoy…

Doyle Flute Featured On Flutewise

Flutewise article - click to see a larger version.

Flutewise article – click to see a larger version.

One of Martin Doyle’s recent accomplishments, an F flute made in Boxwood, was featured late last year in an article about Irish flute makers. The article is based on an answer to an email enquiry sent to the Irish flute repair expert Jon Dodd regarding recommended Irish flute makers – and was published by Flutewise magazine. From their website:

Since 1988, when Liz Goodwin (@flutewise) founded Flutewise, our organisation has provided fantastic services to young flute players, their parents and their teachers. Throughout these 25 years Flutewise has been renowned for our vast number of fun events. Ranging from small events lasting a few hours to two day events for over 1,000 young players, Flutewise events have taken place both in the UK and in countries all over the world.

The ‘F’ flute was made specially as a gift for the spiritual musician and meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy on the occasion of the Master’s 76th birthday. It was a first-of-it’s-kind for Martin Doyle and, by all accounts, a beautiful flute with exceptionally sweet tone.

Jon Dodd is an Irish and concert flute repair specialist who lives not far from Martin Doyle in Knockliscrane, Miltown Malbay, County Clare. Click on the image above to see the full article as it appeared in Flutewise. Special thanks to Liz Goodwin of Flutewise for supplying the image.