Martin Doyle recently visited Gandharva Loka in Dublin to drop off a pair of flutes made from native New Zealand timbers – the last of the ‘KiwiCelt’ flute line that Martin has produced throughout the years. Here is a video clip of Martin playing the flute made of black maire wood in the Gandharva Loka store.
If you read the previous post, you will be aware that Martin Doyle spent a couple of weeks visiting friends (and making more) in Christchurch, New Zealand, over the 2014 Christmas period. On arrival Martin was quite ill with a heavy cold that he had caught in Clare the day before he left, which incubated very nicely during the 36 hours of air travel he had to endure to reach the far side of the world.
It is a matter of fact that bugs also like to travel and so it came to pass that Martin’s Kiwi friend and host Shardul caught a downgraded, second-hand, left-over version of the vicious and virulent virus. Life went on like this for a few short (and sometimes long) days and while the two were in convalescence mode one night, it was decided that a good movie would help clear the head-fog. The conversation revolving around which movie to watch went something like this…
Shardul: “Hey Martin, can you recommend a movie? I think we need to zone out for an hour or two.”
Martin: “Have a look at Becoming Jane.”
S: “Never heard of it. Is it any good?”
M: “Of course it’s good – I’m in it!”
S: “You’re in a movie?!?”
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.
Martin Doyle gets his fair share of visitors to his home and workshop in County Clare and they come from near and far. This week saw a small group of intrepid Kiwis pop in for a ‘cuppa and a chat’. Nearing the conclusion of a two week walking tour through the west of Ireland, the happy and hardy group were spending a couple of days in the area with visits to local artisans, walking the Burren and a night on Inis Meáin (one of the Aran Islands). Martin and his assistant Gwenn Frin were delighted to receive the guests who hailed from New Zealand, the US and Canada.
The tours are led by County Limerick native Rachel Ryan who has lived in Nelson, New Zealand, since 1980. Each year Rachel and her team guide walking tours of west Ireland and also take visitors to New Zealand on walking tours throughout the beautiful Tasman District in the north-western region of New Zealand’s South Island.
Martin has developed a connection with New Zealand since meeting his friend (and webmaster) Shardul in 2001 when Martin was still living in County Wicklow. Shardul was looking for a flute for his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy and arrived at Martin’s workshop in Bray. For a period spanning four or five years after that, Martin made a small number of Irish flutes from native New Zealand timbers that were supplied to him by his Kiwi friend. Shardul currently lives in Nelson and met Rachel Ryan at the 2012 Race Unity Day which is organised by the Nelson Multicultural Council. One thing leads to another in this world of ours…
Here I am in County Clare, Ireland, and staying with my friend Martin Doyle for a few days. I have brought Martin three sticks of Kanuka wood that were kindly given to me by Paul Whinray – a recorder maker who lives in West Auckland, New Zealand. The Kanuka wood was cut, bored and turned into round sticks by Paul in the late 1980s so it is well cured.
Martin set me to work on preparing the sticks and with the kind guidance of his son Ógi, and Martin doing all the critical work, we produced a wonderful flute. It has a lovely tone (milder than the hardwoods like African Blackwood and Cocus) that I am sure will develop nicely with playing. The end cap of the flute is made of Cocus wood. Here’s a look at it: