Eimear McGeown Comments On MDF Headjoint

Martin Doyle is always grateful to receive feedback on his work as a flute maker and he was thrilled to read a post on the Facebook page of Irish flautist Eimear McGeown recently with regards to a wooden headjoint that he made for Eimear’s concert flute. It runs thus:

“Really enjoying my new Martin Doyle Flutes wooden headjoint for my classical flute!!! Have lots of really exciting new music to learn on it for the Budapest recital [Eimear is offering a recital and masterclass at the Budapest Flute Academy in Hungary, March 10—13, 2016], including two new pieces written for me by Alicia Hart and Philip Hammond!”

Eimear McGeown's Headjoint

Eimear McGeown’s Martin Doyle Flutes Wooden Headjoint (photo credit: Eirmear McGeown’s Facebook page)

We look forward to hearing more from Eimear in the near futue and wish her well in Budapest.

For more information about Martin Doyle’s headjoints, kindly visit:
Wooden Headjoints for Concert Flutes »

The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling

Here’s a couple of lovely video clips featuring two renowned Irish musicians playing the Uillean pipes. The first is a duet featuring our good friend Ronan Browne performing with Jimmy O’Brien Moran at the Morpeth Chantery Bagpipe Museum in Northumberland, England.
The second features Ronan Browne performing solo on his James Kenna pipes that date back to the 1780s. This clip was recorded in the Chapter House of St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland, and includes some explanation about the Kenna set in the context of the evolution of Uillean pipes. Hope you enjoy these wee treats …

Finding Your Instrument

We recently received a message from our Kiwi friend Shardul that ran thus:

“Hi Martin,
The attached article was posted on a blog that has now gone the way of the dinosaurs, struck by the asteroid of disinterest. It is about my own experience and views on music, the importance of finding an instrument that suits ones nature, needs and abilities, and how I got started playing the flute – which is where you come in to the picture. Anyway, if you feel that it is a story worth telling, perhaps your blog would be a good home for my humble scribblings. I shall leave it in your hands to do with as you wish.
Kind regards,
Shardul.”

And so, we present…

Finding Your Instrument

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be blessed with the wonderful ability to get music out of just about any musical instrument they lay their hands on? (I have a friend who I swear could wring a tune from a damp sponge if he wanted to!) Then there are those of us who, though devoted music lovers, struggle to express ourselves even on one instrument. The later is my category – or so I thought.

“Music; the greatest good that mortals know, and all of heaven we have below.” – Joseph Addison.

For those who are left in awe of the musically gifted creed, we may be doing them and ourselves something of a disservice. First of all, we have not witnessed the many hours of practice that these ‘fortunate maestros’ have put into their music training. Some survive on raw talent but most have to work hard at it. Secondly it is a fatal mistake to compare oneself to others – probably the numero uno inspiration killer – because we develop the ‘Oh, I could never ever be like that’ syndrome! We are all unique and carry within us the quintessential seeds of creativity. Thirdly, for those of us whose creativity-seeds are still in the early stages of germination, there is the thought that we may not yet have found our instrument – that divine implement that was made ‘just for me’, perfectly suits our personality and allows the creative outlet that we have always yearned for. There is truth in this – I know it for a fact because it took me some four and a half decades to find the instrument that I did not even know I was looking for!

So I write with the intension of encouraging kindred-souls who are still holding to the hope that they may yet get a chance to play the music that they hear and feel inside their hearts and minds. Here is my story …

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The Day We Went To Sligo

September 26 this year saw Martin Doyle attend the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music where he had been invited to have a instrument makers stall and offer a workshop on Baroque flute making.

Martin Doyle's stall at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

Martin Doyle’s stall at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music, September 2015

Reflecting on the event, Martin commented that he had a wonderful time, met some lovely people and attended some excellent workshops and recitals.

Recital at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music

Recital at the 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music

One of the people who really impressed Martin was the Czech flute player Jana Semerádová, whose Baroque flute master class and recitals Martin attended. Here is a video clip of Jana performing:

Jana’s playing brought forward the zen-like aspect of Martin’s persona and he fervently loosed forth the following paradoxical quote:

“When you hear a musician playing the flute, it becomes difficult to listen to the same being done by a flute player.” – Martin Doyle.

Martin was also very pleased to meet Colin Booth, the British harpsichordist and harpsichord maker. Here’s a video clip of Colin playing the harpsichord:

Martin was so impressed with the harpsichord that on returning home, he bought one! The sweet tones of the Baroque era now float across the green fields and narrow laneways around Rannagh in the County Clare.

Martin would like to thank the Sligo Festival of Baroque Music organisers for inviting him to the festival. He would also like to thank Vivian and Lizzy Kinsella and their daughters Charlotte and Isabella, whom he stayed with while in Sligo, for their kind and generous hospitality.

Photo Gallery

A Poem for Nuala Níc Con Iomaire – by Biddy Jenkinson

Martin Doyle has a page on his website entitled In Praise of Wooden Flutes which presents a poem of the same name by Martin’s friend Biddy Jenkinson. Biddy, an Irish poet, short story writer and dramatist who writes in the Irish language, also sent Martin a poem that eulogises their mutual friend Nuala Níc Con Iomaire who passed away in July of 2010. That poem, Nuala, is reproduced below.

Nuala Níc Con Iomaire

Nuala Níc Con Iomaire – 2005

Nuala

Duine ar dhuine chuir na ceoltóirí a gcuid uirlisí ina mboscaí.
D’imigh go leor don bhus deiridh.
Lean fuíoll an tseisiúin ag dordán is an halla ag éirí fuar.
D’imigh gach éinne ar deireadh, go siléigeach.
Ach níor fágadh cathaoir gan scáil air ná gloine gan cuimhne láimhe inti.
Bhí anam an cheoil fós ag suaitheadh an aeir nuair d’éirigh do ghlór go huaigneach.
Guth na muintire i sciúch an aoin.
Béal binn.
‘Dia leat, a stór!’

– Biddy Jenkinson.

Messages regarding Nuala’s life and passing can be viewed here »

Martin Doyle To Attend Sligo Festival Of Baroque Music

The Model, SligoThe three day 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music commences on September the 25th and Martin Doyle has been invited by the festival’s organisers to attend as an artisan exhibiter and to offer a flute making workshop.

Martin has been making simple system Irish flutes since the early 1980s and his first batch of Baroque flutes were crafted in 2000. Modelling his Baroque flutes on an eighteenth century Rottenburgh flute design, Martin has made several batches since and generally uses either boxwood or African Blackwood.

Martin Doyle Baroque Flute made of Boxwood

Martin Doyle Baroque Flute made of Boxwood

The 20th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music is being held at The Model in Sligo and Martin Doyle’s Flute Maker Workshop begins at 11 am on Saturday September the 26th.

More information here: 2015 Programme of Events »

Martin Doyle Flute Features in Karl Jenkins’ The Peacemakers

Premik

Premik Russell Tubbs

It is most probably a fact that most flute makers do not get to know much about what the flutes they have made get up to once they have left the workshop – but there can be moments of exception.

One such moment came Martin Doyle‘s way recently when he received a very encouraging and inspirational message from veteran musician Premik Russell Tubbs regarding an event that Premik was involved with in January of 2015. That message, in part, is as follows:

Hello Martin,

[…] If you remember, back in 2000, I became the proud owner of one of your [celtic style] African Blackwood flutes. I wanted to let you know that that lovely flute was heard last Monday night echoing throughout Carnegie Hall! I participated in a work by composer Karl Jenkins called “The Peacemakers“. It’s a wonderful piece which uses quotes by Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Theresa and many others, which the composer weaves beautiful orchestrations and choral arrangements around. That night, I was the ethnic flute guy, playing Indian bansuri and Irish flute. It was a most special experience that I wanted to share with you.

Warm regards,
Premik.

Very kind of Premik as we humans tend to thrive in an environment of encouragement no matter what our station in life. Here is a clip of Karl Jenkins talking about recording The Peacemakers.