Archive for Personal Experiences

Hungarian Irish music group Bran release new CD

Martin Doyle has for many years had a close association with the members of the Hungarian Irish music group Bran and has travelled to Hungary on a number of occasions to take part in Irish music festivals to offer flute workshops and inspiration. Two of the members of Bran, Gáborján Kovacs and Judit Kuti, play Martin Doyle flutes and Martin has often commented on the enthusiasm that the Hungarians have for Irish music and of the joy and inspiration he has received from his association with Bran and the Hungarian Irish music festivals.

Birds' Day - a new CD from BranBran has recently released a CD of Irish tunes that are linked by the common theme of ‘birds’. The title of the CD is Int én Bec – Birds’ Day – Rigmadár (‘Birds’ Day’ in Irish, English and Hungarian) and it is a delightful offering of simplicity, purity and joy that are distinctive features of Bran’s music.

A sample track, Birds At The Fairy Fulling, can be heard here »

And here is a video clip featuring the music of Bran:


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Walking Kiwis Visit Martin Doyle

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.

Walking tour leader Rachel Ryan and members of the group with Martin Doyle and Gwenn Frin among a forest of wooden flutes at Martin's workshop in County Clare.

Walking tour leader Rachel Ryan (back left) and members of the group with Martin Doyle (back centre) and Gwenn Frin (back right) among a forest of wooden flutes at Martin’s workshop in County Clare.

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 Nelson/Tasman region of New Zealand’s South Island.

Martin has developed a strong 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 now lives in Nelson and met Rachel Ryan at Nelson’s Race Unity Day in 2012. One thing leads to another in this world of ours…

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Three Instrument Makers in Ennistymon, County Clare

3 Instrument Makers (and their music)

3 Instrument Makers (and their music)

The west of Ireland is particularly strong in the tradition of music and County Clare is no exception being liberally blessed with gifted musicians and artisans – past, present and, no doubt, into the future. As a result, the county is host to many events that reflect, celebrate and perpetuate this living tradition of music.

One such event (which Martin Doyle is very honoured and excited to be part of) is soon to be hosted by the Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery and Studio. Opening from the 19th to the 26th of November, 3 Instrument Makers (and their music) is an exhibition featuring the work and music of Martin Doyle (flute), Davey Spillane (Uilleann pipes) and Paul Dooley (harp) who all live within a bulls roar of Ennistymon.

In conjunction with the year of the craft, this unique exhibition will offer the visitor a multi media experience of film, photography, audio, as well as a chance to see a display of the exquisitely crafted instruments made by each of these musicians.

Photographer Christy McNamara, well known for his photographs of traditional musicians will be collaborating in this exhibition with a series of commissioned photographs. Also included will be a short film made by Packmule Films documenting each of the musicians at work in their workshops. In conjunction with North Clare Historical Society there will be a lecture Monday 21st at 8pm by Eugene Lambe, collector of tunes and stories from County Clare. This exhibition will be held in the old courthouse building in Ennistymon which has been beautifully renovated into a new art space. Read more »

Details will no doubt be posted on the Courthouse Gallery website and their Facebook page. If you would like a PDF version (A4 size) of the 3 Instrument Makers (and their music) poster (pictured above), click on this link.

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Aoife Doyle to perform at Classical Twist concert

Aoife Doyle

Aoife Doyle

Martin Doyle speaking to his webmaster today:

“I have an Aikido course all day on the 12th in Galway and when that’s over I’m straight into the car and down to Limerick. My daughter Aoife is singing at the UL concert hall and I’m really looking forward to it!”

Aoife Doyle will be performing as a guest singer in Vladimir Jablokov‘s Classical Twist concert at the University Concert Hall in Limerick on November 12, 2011.

Aoife trained formally as a jazz singer at the Newpark Music Centre in Dublin but sings in a range of styles including jazz, blues and folk. She is also an accomplished fiddle and tin whistle player.

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Conversations on the Coast

In September of 2010, Bristolian Nick Hand visited Martin Doyle at his workshop in Clare. After recording a conversation with Martin and taking a raft of photographs, Nick created a ‘soundslide’ that was included on his Slowcoast website – one of dozens of inspirational soundslides that he has created during his cycle tours around the coastal regions of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Conversations on the Coast

Conversations on the Coast – by Nick Hand

Nick has just released Conversations on the Coast – a beautifully presented hardcover publication offering a selection of twenty stories and photography from the Slowcoast project.

Conversations on the Coast brings together artists and craftspeople from around the British Isles who talk about their work, their life and their passion.

“What I love most about this book is the humility of actually quite ordinary artisans chosen by chance as they came into focus on one man’s remarkable journey around the coast. What we learn is that when you take the time to look, even the apparently straight forward lives of a bicycle repairer, hat maker or basket weaver are driven by passion and a deep seated love for their work. It is inspirational.” – Robin Wood, Chair of The Heritage Crafts Association.

Nick Hand’s visit with Martin Doyle has been included in the book and Martin was delighted to receive a copy by post this week.

Nick Hand with his bicycle

Nick Hand and his trusty steed

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Martin Doyle Wins RDS National Craft Award

July 27, 2011

Martin Doyle receiving the 2011 RDS Crafts Competition Award

Martin Doyle receives the 2011 RDS National Crafts 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.

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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Martin Doyle features on Slowcoast

Nick Hand with his bicycle

Nick Hand and his trusty steed

A leisurely bicycle tour around the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – what better way to see the sights, get a feel for the land and meet the locals! Many have done it but Bristolian Nick Hand has taken the process a couple of steps further. He is interviewing and photographing inspiring people that he meets during his travels and creating soundslides which he posts on his aptly named website, Slowcoast.

In his own words Nick is “…talking to the artisans that I meet, people who have a passion and have developed and honed a skill.” The result is a very inspiring library of soundslides that cover a wide range of people, lifestyles and landscapes. During his travels Nick is also raising money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society through sponsorship.

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