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 has just published a new website that introduces his Aikido classes to the world via the internet.
Clare Aikikai – Aikido classes with Martin Doyle in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland.
Martin Doyle first became interested in Aikido in 1987 at the recommendation of a friend and is now a nidan (2nd Dan (rank)) Aikido instructor – or sensei (teacher) in Japanese. He offers twice weekly Aikido classes for adults and children at Liscannor, County Clare.
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the Way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the Way of harmonious spirit.” Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Read more: Aikido »
For more information about Martin Doyle’s aikido classes in Liscannor, visit: Clare Aikikai »
Martin Doyle has just received a very nice testimonial from Paul MaCarthy – a self professed ‘flute player for the fun of it’ – who hails from Clonmel in County Tipperary. Paul’s kind comments are as follows:
Paul McCarthy with his Martin Doyle flute.
“Having played other flutes (mainly African Blackwood with headliner) and been dissatisfied with their somewhat capricious nature, I started searching for an instrument which did not have these flaws. After scratching around the country on and off for months and visiting several well respected flute makers, I failed to find what I was looking for. Maybe it was me and not the flutes but I found them very unacceptably fickle.
Eventually in the autumn of 2005 I found myself in a snug workshop in Bray talking with a very relaxed and affable flute maker who invited me to sit into the corner and try any flute I could find. There were several on a rack on the table next to me so I started with the one closest to me and worked my way along about 7 or 8 of them. Being of a methodical nature, I played the same tune (a slip jig called A Fig For A Kiss) on each of them to better judge their performance. All were sweet toned, balanced and uncapricious. Then my eye lit on it. A nice looking Cocuswood, unkeyed, unlined flute at the end of the rack. The feeling I got on playing those first few notes I can still recall. Absolutely gorgeous tone, weight and balance, not a hint of fickleness and with that lovely soft, mellow reverberation which comes with good tone. Low D? No problem. Another fifteen minutes playing passed interspersed with question and answers with Martin. The decision to buy this particular flute was not made by me nor by Martin but by the flute. This thing of beauty is of the rare sort and gives massive enjoyment.
Thanks are not enough Martin Doyle!”
Thank you Paul – your kind words are great encouragement!
More comments from flute players all over the world can be viewed here: Testimonials »
During my trip to Ireland in May, I was invited by Martin Doyle to attend a small but lively gathering of Irish traditional musicians at Millmount in the historic town of Drogheda, County Louth. I took the train from Dublin and arrived in time to have breakfast overlooking the River Boyne. Despite the drizzling rain, I was captured by the feeling of the place – it’s rich history dating from the Neolithic period was something that can be felt in the atmosphere of the town. My friend Martin has a deep fondness for Drogheda and the general areas of Loath and it’s immediate neighbour, County Meath. That part of Ireland, with it’s strong music tradition, has always been close to his heart. Very keen to attend the festival, Martin left his home in County Clare at 7am and joined us in Drogheda for morning tea!
Martin Doyle playing one of his own flutes at the Traditional Day in Millmount.
For the past four years Drogheda has hosted the week long Drogheda Arts Festival. Among the festival’s numerous events is an Irish traditional music component known as the Traditional Day in Millmount. Martin Doyle was invited to attend as a flute maker and traditional musician and he gladly agreed to participate. Also in attendance at Millmount was Martin’s good friend Ronan Browne, the renowned piper Seán McKiernan, stalwart Irish traditional musician, singer and organiser of the Traditional Day in Millmount Seán Corcoran (Seán and Ronan, along with Desi Wilkinson, are members of the Irish traditional music group Cran), Uilleann pipe maker Bill Haneman, flute maker John Hughes and Uilleann pipes aficionado Ken McLeod.
Discover all that Millmount has to offer by joining us for a traditional music day. From 12pm until 5pm the festival presents activities for all the family, including an outdoor ceili session, Irish dancing, story telling and live outdoor performances… Exhibitions include ‘A History of Piping in Drogheda’ presented by Na Píobairí Uilleann in the Millmount Centre…
Gwenn Frin is a wooden flute player who has been assisting Martin Doyle for the past few months and learning about the art of flute making. Originally from Brittany in France, a cultural region that has historic ties to the Celts and also has a very strong culture of folk music, Gwenn fell in love with the simple system wooden flute (also known as Irish flute) at an early age. The instrument has been an major part of her life ever since and has brought her to many countries around the world including Ireland, Korea and the United States.
Gwenn first performed with the Cercle Celtique de Rennes (who are coming to Cork in July of this year) where she was introduced to the traditional music and dances of Brittany before playing for the dancers themselves. Her true professional debut were with the band Beaj Iskis in the early 1990s, which toured the Fest Noz scene in Brittany for four years. Gwenn moved to Galway, Ireland in 1998, drawn to the roots of her passion, and took classes with renowned flute player Harry Bradley.
Gwenn Frin working at the lathe.
In 1999, Gwenn moved to Dublin to concentrate solely on her flute playing while completing a Higher National Diploma In Traditional Music performance (Ceoltóir) directed by flute player Paul McGrattan. This last experience led her to doing a Master’s degree in Music and Media Technologies in Trinity College, Dublin. These amazing two years transformed her musical understanding and experience and opened up her musical horizons not only to contemporary and electroacoustic music, but also to composition.
Martin Doyle offers Aikido classes in Liscannor, County Clare.
Outside of flute making and music, one of Martin Doyle’s main interests is the practice of Aikido – a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba. Martin has been practicing Aikido with Irish Aikido Federation in Bray, County Wicklow, for more than two decades. Since moving to County Clare, has been offering regular Aikido classes at the Liscannor Community Hall.
“Aikido can be summed up like this: True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly! “True victory” means unflinching courage; “self-victory” symbolises unflagging effort; and “let that day arrive quickly” represents the glorious moment of triumph in the here and now.” – Morihei Ueshiba.
Martin also offers free Zen meditation classes for beginners at the Liscannor Community Hall on Tuesday nights before the Aikido session. More information here can be found here: Clare Aikikai »