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The Flow archive 2004

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December 2004

A few more recordings have been added to the discography for this update. The late Peg McGrath made only one record that I can locate, Cherish the Ladies, with Kathleen Smyth on fiddle and Mary Mulholland on piano. It isn't clear to me when this was originally recorded, but it was rereleased as a CD in 1996 on Belfast's Outlet label.

Peg McGrath was taught by the hugely influential Josie McDermott and was herself an inspiration to many women to play Irish music on the flute. Catherine McEvoy mentions her in the interview (external link) on Brad Hurley's site and the large number of tunes which bear Peg McGrath's name as a source is continuing testimony to her importance.

Gordon Tyrrall from Yorkshire is well-known as a singer-guitarist, formerly with Iona and Dab Hand, but he is also a flute player. A few years ago he released a pair of CDs and accompanying tune books of session tunes from the Leeds area, Banish Misfortune and The Five Mile Chase, and these have also been added to the discography and printed resources pages.

I have corrected an error in the discography entry for Paul McGrattan's Keelwest and updated the entry for Larry McDonagh.

October/ November 2004

Hard drive failure and resulting loss of data has meant that this update is both shorter and later than intended. There is a chance that the next update will also be affected by this.

Garry Walsh's 'Uncovered' has been strongly recommended by both Hammy Hamilton and Brad Hurley and has been turning heads in Ireland. With a Manchester-Irish background and now resident in Ireland, Garry Walsh's playing is described by Brad Hurley as being a strong, free flowing sweet style, with excellent tone and breath control. The recording notably features a selection of unusual Cork and County Louth tunes which have been handed down through his family.

I have added a link to Kiwicelt, a New Zealand outlet for the flutes of Dublin-based Martin Doyle. The site also serves as a resource for flute payers in New Zealand and features interviews with notable local players.

September/ October 2004

Hot off the press, a CD of Roscommon flute playing has just been released which looks to be very promising. 'Flute Players of Roscommon' consists of new recordings of twelve flute players from Roscommon, recognised widely as a stronghold of flute playing. Some artists involved are internationally recognised, others known widely but previously unrecorded and others emerging professionals.

Participating artists have contributed to this project on the basis that all future royalties will be used for the education and development of young musicians. With the support of the Arts Council and Roscommon County Council, all profits for this project will go to the purchase of flutes and the provision of bursaries and master classes for emerging musicians.

The album is produced by John Wynne and the players are; Patsy Hanly, Catherine McEvoy, Tommy Guihan, John Kelly, John Carlos, Brian Duke, Frank Jordan, Bernard Flaherty, Pat Finn, Patsy McNamara, John P Carty and John Wynne. The CD is available only from and has been added to the discography. Thanks to John and Maureen Carty and Bil McGinty for the information.

A formatting bug on the discography form page has been fixed.

Michael McGoldrick's 1995 release with fiddler Dezi Donnelly, 'Champions of the North', has been added to the discography. The CD is a rerelease of a recording made around 1989, when Dezi Donnelly and Michael McGoldrick had just won the All-Ireland under 18 duet on fiddle and flute and were about to form Toss the Feathers.

Initially a limited release on cassette only, this CD has 8 tracks and is just 30 minutes long. However, it is not only a document of the earlier skills of two high-regarded musicians, but stands on its own as a recording of accomplished and energetic playing. The final track anticipates some of the the fusion work of Toss the Feathers and McGoldrick's more recent output and suffers from feeling a bit dated to my ears. However, the rest of the CD steers clear of this type of arrangement and mostly features keyboards, guitar, bass or bodhrán for accompaniment.

The next update will be sometime around the 3rd Friday of October.

August 2004

+ As part of an ongoing programme of improvements to the site I have been updating the code to XHTML. The eventual aim is for the site to meet current w3 standards with regards to accessibility and code, although accessibility may take a while with regard to the discography due to the way it is compiled. The important news is that the site should render better across different platforms and browsers.

+ I have added a couple of links to John F Flynn's John McKenna page on the Links and Sligo pages.

+ Christy Barry's well-received 2002 recording with box player Conor McCarthy and Cyril O'Donoghue (bouzouki) has been added to the discography. Recorded live at the famous O'Connor's Bar in Doolin, Co. Clare, the CD is reportedly musically excellent and rich in atmosphere.

+ Alan and John Kelly are brothers from County Roscommon who play piano accordian and flute respectively. Their 2002 recording Fourmilehouse features a number of accompanists including Arty McGlynn and Cyril O'Donoghue and had favourable reviews and has also been added to the discography.

+ The Burwell Bash has been and gone and so it has been removed from the events page.

+ The next update will be sometime around the 3rd Friday of September.

July 2004

+ It is proving to be a bit of a busy year for flute releases. More have been added to the discography:

+ County Clare's Peter O Loughlin has released a CD with Galway fiddler Maeve Donnelly, The Thing Itself. Maeve played on Peter's last release with Ronan Browne, who himself guests here on flute and whistle, while Geraldine Cotter again accompanies on piano. Flat keys appear to feature heavily and based upon previous CDs, this will be a fine recording.

+ Catherine McEvoy is another highly-rated player and for me her solo recording has been one of the highlights of the past 10 years, epitomising much that is to be admired in Sligo-Roscommon style playing. On The Kilmore Fancy she duets with her brother John McEvoy, who has played with Providence and is a well-regarded fiddle player in his own right, and Felix Dolan again provides piano backing. There appears to have been some debate on the Chiff and Fipple bulletin board about exactly when this was recorded, but its release is no less welcome all the same.

+ June McCormack has previously recorded with Síona and has been receiving favourable reviews around the world. Draíocht has been recorded with harp player Michael Rooney and features mostly traditional tunes. The combination of instruments is suprisingly uncommon in this setting, so it is worth checking out the promising sound samples on their web site.

+ Finally, Grey Larson continues to be a busy man and has just released Les Marionnettes with André Marchand. The long-awaited follow-up to The Orange Tree, it features original song and instrumental arrangements integrating traditional Irish and French Canadian music, with six original pieces by both artists. Irish flute, tin whistles, concertina, fiddle, piano, guitar, foot percussion, harmonium, field organ. Lilting and vocals in French. Again, there are samples on Grey's web site which provide a good flavour of the music.

June 2004

+ More releases have been added to the discography:

+ East Galway player Seán Moloney has released a pair of CDs, 'Music on the Wind' and 'Potlicks'. Seán Moloney plays both Boehm and simple system flutes as well as the whistle and the CDs build on the earlier 'Bridging the Gap' which he recorded with his father. As can be expected, they feature music from his family and East Galway as well as a more general repertoire. The simple system instrument features more on 'Potlicks' than on 'Music on the Wind'.

+ The much-anticipated 'Wooden Flute Obsession 2' has recently been released. A double CD, it features 44 flute players selected by their peers over the internet and unlike other complilations, many of the tracks have been recorded especially for the project. Uniquely, it places established recording artists alongside lesser-known but equally-regarded players who might not have recorded before or have previously held a reputation within the flute-playing community only. It goes without saying that all of these musicians are worth hearing and together with the previous volume make for essential listening. Volume 3 is already at the planning stage.

May 2004

+ The site finally has a new home, which should make it easier to remember and find.

+ The Border Gaitherin' link has been removed as the event has now passed. A lovely location and great weather for the weekend in question, with some sessions outdoors. I paid a brief visit on the Sunday and co-organiser Martin Morroni told me that the workshops were a great success.

+ This year's Burwell Bash has now been added to the events page.

April 2004

+ I have added "Brother" Steve's Tin Whistle Pages to the list of links. Not only is this a great site for whistle players, but it includes privately recorded MP3s and accompanying transcriptions and analysis of tunes played by notable flute and whistle players, including (on the flute) Paddy Carty, Patsy Hanly, Micho Russell, Eddie Moloney and Packie Duignan.

+ Some more recordings, not all of them recent, have been added to the discography:

+ 'An Gaoth Aduaidh' (The North Wind), Solo Flute Playing from the Irish Tradition. Recorded at and for the benefit of the annual Frankie Kennedy Winter School, this features an impressive line-up: Harry Bradley, Briain O'Domhnaill, Gary Hastings, Conor Byrne, Gerry O'Donnell, Marcas O'Murchu, Matt Molloy, Desi Wilkinson, Hammy Hamilton, Clodach Nic Ruairi, Paul O'Shaughnessy, Tara Bingham and Paul McGrattan.

+ Conor Byrne's 'Wind Dancer' now has a catalogue number.

+ 'One's Own Place' by Kevin Henry, originally from the Tubbercurry area of Sligo but now resident in Chicago.

+ Laurence Nugent is another Irish-born flute player living and working in Chicago. Originally from Fermanagh, he has made several recordings, one of which is The Windy Gap.

+ County Clare's legendary and influential Micho Russell made numerous recordings before his tragic death in 1994. 'The Man From Clare' and 'The Limestone Rock' plug a couple of gaps in the discography.

+ Finally, I have added an entry for Eithne Ní Uallacháin. Based in Dundalk and highly regarded as a singer, she recorded 'Lá Lugh' with her husband, fiddler Gerry O'Connor and they subsequently recorded together as Lá Lugh.

March 2004

+ London flute player Mick Mulvey has a CD entitled "Within A Mile of Jamestown". This has been added to the discography. Recorded and mastered by Simon Wroe, it features Karen Ryan (of The London Lasses) and Brian Rooney on fiddle and Pete Quinn (also with The London Lasses) and Reg Hall on piano. Thanks to Chris Corbett for this information.

+ Garry Shannon is now a teacher at the Border Gaitherin' flute and whistle workshops in addition to Brian Finnegan. See the news and events page for more on the weekend, which takes place in Coldstream.

February 2004

+ Paul Smyth's CD "Up and Away" has been added to the discography. Produced by Ged Foley of The Battlefield Band, House Band and Patrick Street, it features his guitar and fiddle and has appearances by Michael Cooney (uilleann pipes), Padhraic Smyth (piano) and Mike O'Connor (bodhran). Paul lives near Killaloe on the Clare/Tipperary border and is cousin to fiddlers Sean Smyth (Lúnasa) and Breda Smyth (Riverdance).

+ I have also added incomplete details of Conor Byrne's CDs. His most recent recording is with highly-regarded Belfast fiddler Méabh O'Hare. Flute afficionados may also be interested to learn that Méabh produced a great short film on Belfast flute players a couple of years ago. Featuring maker Sam Murray with Harry Bradley, Michael Clarkson, Gary Hastings and Davey Maguire amongst others, it was shown on BBC Northern Ireland and BBC4 and is recommended.

January 2004

+ Information on flute workshops at the Border Gaitherin in Coldstream have been added to the news page. Thanks to David Begg for this information.

+ Details of the flute-centred Ninth Annual Boxwood Festival have also been added. Thanks to Ann Huntoon for this information.

+ Links to images of beautiful left-handed flutes by Chris Wilkes have been added to the Left-handed page. Thanks to Andrew Pickering for his pemission to acess these.

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Rachel Howitt
Rachel Howitt at The White Stag, Leeds

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