“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…
Martin Doyle is one of several instrument makers interviewed in a feature radio programme called Sounding Post. Produced by Nina Perry – an independent radio producer, composer and sound designer from London who produces features with Falling Tree Productions for BBC Radio 4, Sounding Post will be airing on May the 9th at 11 am (GMT), and looks at the use of timber in instrument making around the world.
Nina Perry’s ‘composed feature’ Sounding Post traces a musical journey from the instrument-makers’ workshops and music studios of Europe and America, via the woods of southern England across to the mpingo (African blackwood) conservation project of Tanzania. The relationship that each individual in the process – forester, craftsman, musician and environmentalist – has with the wood reveals insights into our feeling for nature, the materials we derive from our surroundings and the irresistible impulse to express ourselves musically.
From an Irish flute maker, Martin Doyle, an English Luthier, Martin Bowers, luthiers supplier David Dyke and a Los Angeles based guitarist, Laurence Juber, to the English forester Martin Charlton and members of the Mpingo Conservation Project in Southeastern Tanzania and Scott Paul of the Greenpeace MusicWood campaign, we hear about the sonorous qualities of different species, the increasing issue of maintaining sustainable supplies and the people who connect the music to the tree.
Sounding Post also features some great acoustic music which includes Martin Doyle playing wooden flute.
Martin Doyle playing one of his own keyless D flutes made from African Blackwood with a sterling silver tuning slide.
Airtricity wind power certificate on the wall of Martin Doyle’s workshop.
Given today’s environmental issues that are increasingly being highlighted by global warming, Martin Doyle has always tried to be conscious of the use of power and timber in his work. As an instrument maker who uses timbers such as African Blackwood and Cocus for the flutes he makes, Martin has long supported The Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative – an NGO that aims to conserve endangered forests by promoting sustainable and socially equitable harvesting of African Blackwood (mpingo) and other valuable timber stocks.
To power his house and workshop, Martin has opted to use environmentally friendly electricity supplied by SSE Airtricity – a fully integrated renewable electricity utility specialising in the development and long term ownership of onshore and offshore wind farms. The Group currently has almost 400MW of generating capacity in operation across Ireland and Scotland, with a further 400MW in construction and to be operational this year.
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. In windmills, wind energy is directly used to crush grain or to pump water. At the end of 2007, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 94.1 gigawatts. Although wind currently produces just over 1% of world-wide electricity use, it accounts for approximately 19% of electricity production in Denmark, 9% in Spain and Portugal, and 6% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland (2007 data). Globally, wind power generation increased more than fivefold between 2000 and 2007. Read more: Wind power »
Martin Doyle is proud to be making woodwind instruments using electricity generated from the power of the wind.