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…
Here’s a couple of lovely video clips featuring two renowned Irish musicians playing the Uillean pipes. The first is a duet featuring our good friend Ronan Browne performing with Jimmy O’Brien Moran at the Morpeth Chantery Bagpipe Museum in Northumberland, England.
The second features Ronan Browne performing solo on his James Kenna pipes that date back to the 1780s. This clip was recorded in the Chapter House of St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland, and includes some explanation about the Kenna set in the context of the evolution of Uillean pipes. Hope you enjoy these wee treats …
We recently received a message from our Kiwi friend Shardul that ran thus:
The attached article was posted on a blog that has now gone the way of the dinosaurs, struck by the asteroid of disinterest. It is about my own experience and views on music, the importance of finding an instrument that suits ones nature, needs and abilities, and how I got started playing the flute – which is where you come in to the picture. Anyway, if you feel that it is a story worth telling, perhaps your blog would be a good home for my humble scribblings. I shall leave it in your hands to do with as you wish.
And so, we present…
Finding Your Instrument
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be blessed with the wonderful ability to get music out of just about any musical instrument they lay their hands on? (I have a friend who I swear could wring a tune from a damp sponge if he wanted to!) Then there are those of us who, though devoted music lovers, struggle to express ourselves even on one instrument. The later is my category – or so I thought.
“Music; the greatest good that mortals know, and all of heaven we have below.”
– Joseph Addison.
For those who are left in awe of the musically gifted creed, we may be doing them and ourselves something of a disservice. First of all, we have not witnessed the many hours of practice that these ‘fortunate maestros’ have put into their music training. Some survive on raw talent but most have to work hard at it. Secondly it is a fatal mistake to compare oneself to others – probably the numero uno inspiration killer – because we develop the ‘Oh, I could never ever be like that’ syndrome! We are all unique and carry within us the quintessential seeds of creativity. Thirdly, for those of us whose creativity-seeds are still in the early stages of germination, there is the thought that we may not yet have found our instrument – that divine implement that was made ‘just for me’, perfectly suits our personality and allows the creative outlet that we have always yearned for. There is truth in this – I know it for a fact because it took me some four and a half decades to find the instrument that I did not even know I was looking for!
So I write with the intension of encouraging kindred-souls who are still holding to the hope that they may yet get a chance to play the music that they hear and feel inside their hearts and minds. Here is my story …
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 »
It is most probably a fact that most flute makers do not get to know much about what the flutes they have made get up to once they have left their workshops, but there can be moments of exception.
One such moment came Martin Doyle‘s way recently when he received a very encouraging and inspirational message from veteran musician Premik Russell Tubbs regarding an event that Premik was involved with in January of 2015. That message, in part, is as follows:
In the final three weeks of 2014, Martin Doyle abandoned the Irish winter for a well earned vacation in the form of a first time visit to New Zealand and the unique experience of Christmas in a sunny southern summer. After an epic thirty-six hour journey via London, Abu Dhabi and Sydney, Martin finally arrived in Christchurch which is in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island. During his stay in Christchurch, Martin was involved in a couple of informal music sessions that were held at The Lotus-Heart vegetarian restaurant.
Martin also enjoyed a visit with local musicians Jade Bell and John Wood who live at Fisherman’s Point at the southern tip of Lake Ellesmere. Jade and John perform as a folk duo around Christchurch and were also involved in The Lotus-Heart sessions.
A wee note highlighting a Facebook post by the brilliant Irish flautist Eimear McGeown. Eimear was recently challenged by her sister Erin to participate in the ‘Trad Tune Challenge‘ which aims to raise funds for the St. Patrick’s Hospital Foundation.
The following video clip features a traditional Irish children’s tune called The Dingle Regatta being performed by Cairde Chualann at the 2013 All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Derry. Cairde Chualann is a group of traditional musicians and dancers who hail from the counties Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare. The group has several flute players who play Martin Doyle flutes and we are told that there were three six-keyed, one nine-keyed and one keyless flute being played in this piece. The harpist is Claire O’Donnell who accompanies Martin Doyle (flute) playing a lovely tune that can be heard here: The Blue Hills of Antrim »
Enjoy the music…
The photo below is of Ellen O’Brien – a young flute player from County Cavan – playing a Martin Doyle flute at the Life of Reilly Festival in August 2013. Ellen played a selection of tunes at Flute Wednesday segment of the festival with Matt Molloy, Órlaith McAuliffe, Laurence Nugent and many others.
Ellen loves her Martin Doyle flute and feels that the tone of the flute is brilliant. She won the Ulster Flute Under 12 competition for dance tunes and slow airs, and then went on to the All-Ireland competitions and really enjoyed the whole experience.