Tag Archives: flutes

FSC Certified Blackwood Arrives

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 BlackwoodMpingo 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.

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 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 Wins RDS National Craft Award

July 27, 2011

Martin Doyle receives the 2011 RDS Crafts Competition Award

Martin Doyle receives the 2011 RDS Crafts Competition Award (Musical Instruments category).

Martin Doyle has just received the honour of being awarded first prize in the ‘Musical Instruments’ category of the 2011 RDS National Crafts Competition. The award was for a nine key flute made of cocus wood that Martin finished in April.

Martin drove from County Clare to Dublin with his apprentice Gwenn Frin on Wednesday to accept the award and they were joined at the RDS ceremony by Martin’s long-time friend and Aikido teacher Sean MacRuairi (John Rogers).

Martin Doyle has previously entered his flutes in two craft competitions winning major awards on both occasions. He was awarded the Crafts Council of Ireland Medal in 1985 (with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood) and the prestigious RDS California Gold Medal (overall winner) in 1993 (also with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood). Delighted by the encouragement of winning this years award, Martin had this to say:

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Eimear McGeown Playing A Martin Doyle Flute

Eimear McGeown – classical and Irish flute.

Eimear McGeown – classical and Irish flute

We are very proud and grateful to be able to feature two tracks on Martin Doyle Flutes by the accomplished flute player Eimear McGeown. A native of County Armagh in Northern Ireland, Eimear plays both classical and Irish flutes.

This from Eimear’s website:

The Irish culture and tradition has played a major influence in Eimear’s life, starting Irish dancing at the age of three and going on to become a Northern Ireland Champion dancer. Eimear began playing whistle at the age of nine and progressed to the traditional Irish flute a year later having lessons with Sligo born flautist, Séamus Tansey.

Eimear was the Ulster Champion on the whistle when she was eleven years old and later went on to win two All Ireland Champion titles on the Irish flute both as soloist and in a trio with her brother and sister. She performs on the traditional Irish flute regularly including recitals, in the West End Show Lord of the Rings, with folk/rock band Amsterdam, session studio work in London and is currently recording a solo Celtic Crossover album.

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Bob Denton’s Photos Of Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle portrait by Bob Denton

Martin Doyle portrait – by Bob Denton.

A number of photographs have just been added to Martin Doyle’s Photostream on Flickr. They were taken by Bob Denton who has been Martin’s friend since the 1970s.

Bob Denton is a photographer and musician who plays guitar, mandolin, claw hammer banjo and tin whistle. Originally from South Africa, Bob is credited with starting the Barleycorn Music Club on Woodbridge Island, Cape Town, in 1975. He also compèred and performed at many South African Folk Festivals.

In the realm of photography, Bob worked for Deegan Photo on Leeson Street in Dublin during the early 1970s and took the photo of the Book of Kells which was used on the one and five punt notes in Ireland. He also took many of the photographs for the Doors of Dublin poster originally produced by Borde Failte.

Bob first met Martin Doyle when he moved to Bray in County Wicklow in the early 1970s. Martin, a native of Bray, had just begun to play the banjo and he and Bob would play together regularly.

Bob Denton

Bob Denton with his trusty banjo and Doolin t-shirt! (Photo credit: Bob’s Facebook page.)

View Bob’s photographs here: Bob Denton’s photos of Martin Doyle – February, 2011 »

A Gift From Cathal McConnell

Willie Clancy playing the pipes.

Willie Clancy playing the pipes.

With the Willie Clancy Summer School happening at Miltown Malbay in the County Clare each year, the middle of summer becomes a busy time for Martin Doyle. There is a steady stream of visitors to his house near Liscannor and, when he gets a chance, Martin heads into Miltown Malbay to socialise and catch a session or two. Flutes to deliver, orders to take – the busy life of an artisan flute maker!

During the Willie Clancy, Miltown Malbay is packed with hundreds of visitors, musicians, singers and dancers, young and old, from all over Ireland, Scotland and further afield. Standing room only! Traditional music flows like the water in the rivers and streams of Ireland and a unique traditional culture lives, breathes and is propagated during this ‘gathering of the clan’.

Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell (photo credit*)

One visitor Martin had the opportunity to welcome into his home this year was the renowned flute player, tin whistler and singer Cathal McConnell, who gifted to Martin a copy of his latest CD, Auld Springs Gies Nae Price. Needless to say, Martin was thrilled at Cathal’s kind gesture. Auld Springs Gies Nae Price is a joint effort between Cathal McConnell and Duncan Wood. A multi-instrumentalist musician, artist and author, Duncan Wood hails from the North East of Scotland and plays fiddle on the album.

Like most developed flute players, it is probably a safe bet that Cathal has more than one flute in his quiver. If that is the case, we know that at least one of them is the Martin Doyle C flute as it features in one of the tracks on Auld Springs Gies Nae Price and with Cathal on the CDs jacket photos. The track in question (track eight) comprises two lovely airs, The Fairy Strain and The Hon Mrs Maule of Panmure’s Favourite, and is introduced in the CDs accompanying booklet thus:

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New Testimonials Received

Thumbs Up!I am sure that it is always very encouraging for any craftsman to receive some positive feedback from his clients. After all, most instrument makers spend many hours of each week alone in their workshops labouring to create something that they hope will please the person they are making it for – and in the case of a musical instrument, those who listen to it being played. So when a happy client offers a positive comment, it is always very satisfying, encouraging and brings great joy to the recipient. Two such comments have recently been added to Martin Doyle’s website from happy clients in America.

Amanda Drinsinger — flute player from the USA

“I received the flute early last week. It sounds rich and beautiful and it is very beautiful and of excellent craftsmanship! I am extremely pleased with your work and I think you are the world’s best celtic flute craftsman! I have not played or seen in person any other instrument that matches the sound, beauty and quality put into this flute!”

Ruth Yates — flute player from Hollywood, Maryland, USA

“Hi Martin. I just wanted to tell you that the rosewood flute I purchased from you in October [2009] is so lovely. I found it very easy to play and the tone is so mellow and nice. Don and I really liked coming to your home and seeing your workshop and picking up the flute. It was such a genuinely good experience meeting you and seeing how the instruments come together. Regards, Ruth Yates.”

More comments from flute players all over the world can be viewed here: Testimonials »