Traditional Irish Flute Playing - The Flow
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The Flow archive 2008

     
 
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July

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The site is undergoing some tidying up and an online shop has been set up powered by Amazon.

March / April 2008

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So much for the hopes last summer of being able to update this site more regularly. My apologies to anyone expecting more.

When I last gave this site a major overhaul, CSS was still fairly new (this site uses XHTML and CSS and feature tables for layout if anyone is interested). Blogging technology and tools and the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon was certainly not freely available at the time. As a result, this site is updated by hand and isn't simple to do. It has become increasingly cumbersome and things I would like to do with it would only add to the problem.

At some stage I'll look to change things behind the scenes to bring it more up to date, streamlined and simpler to update within my schedule. But be warned -- don't hold your breath!

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In the mean time, some much-needed updates, although I am aware that these are not complete. Not only are there more recordings to add, but the number of podcasts, blogs and social networking sites that engage with traditional music has risen and the links page doesn't reflect this. The Chiff and Fipple message boards have some good resources posted by the online community and is recommended.

There are also a good number of classic recordings on YouTube such as Matt Molloy or Seamus Tansey that are worth checking out. Just search on "Irish flute" or on the player's name and you'll get there.

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Thanks to Ken Ricketts for identifying the flute player with black hair in the photo at Listowell as Deirdre McSherry from Nenagh. It's always good to have people identified and credited where possible.

Ken tells me that she also plays a wooden Boehm system flute and describes her as an example of an East Galway style player, "with an even tone and steady flow, who can play all the flat key tunes" such as Paddy Fahy and Paddy O'Brien compositions. Ken also says that she plays regularly with Eileen O'Brien and appears on both of her CDs.

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Thanks also to Moritz Haas for informing me of John Wynne's latest recording, with fiddler John McEvoy and backed by Arty McGlynn on guitars and Paddy McEvoy on piano. John Wynne previously played with Providence, has a much-acclaimed solo CD to his name and has been working to promote music in his native Roscommon in recent years; John McEvoy is the brother of the great flute player Catherine McEvoy (their recording is certainly worth checking out too) and has several recordings to his credit; Arty McGlynn has been one of the greats for a long time now and has graced the recordings of many over the years.

Pride of the West has been added to the discography and you can also check out their web site and MySpace page for samples and more details (external links).

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Harry Bradley recently recorded The Night Traveller's Companion and this has been added to the discography. A sparse recording in terms of instrumentation, his musical verve and vigour are allowed to fill the resulting space with warmth and vibrancy. He is variously accompanied on some tracks by piano (Mary Corcoran), fiddle (Paul O'Shaughnessy) and pipes (Emmet Gill). His interest in the recordings of the 20s and 30s continues to provide a rich source of tunes and inspiration.

Profits from the recording go to ROKPA (external link), a relief organisation working primarily in Nepal and Tibet. His MySpace page provides more information on the music and samples (external link).

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Martin Meehan is a flute player originally from Manchester and now resident in County Armagh. A former pupil of (amongst others) Michael McGoldrick, Three's Company is his first recording. Guests include Colm Gannon (accordion), Paul Bradley (fiddle) with accompanists Arty McGlynn, Caoimhin Vallely and Paul Meehan.

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Noel Lenaghan has also released a debut recording. Originally from Belfast and now resident in Galway, his CD No Trouble at All features his flute, whistle, mandolin and traditional singing. A number of Galway musicians also feature and the Claddagh web site (external link) describes this as "a pleasant listen".

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Garry Walsh's first CD was released to great acclaim and his second has just been released. Featuring rare and unusual tunes, Penny Trumpets appears to pick up where the previous one left off, with a host of tasteful musicians supporting him. I have yet to catch up with his music, but look forward to doing so.

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Young Scots flute player Calum Stewart from Moray is someone I had the pleasure to meet in Edinburgh sessions a few years back before losing touch. He did well at the Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Awards last year and now based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he has made a landmark recording with his debut CD Earlywood.

This is the first solo CD of Scots flute music to come out of the music scene in Scotland and its appearance is both welcome and to be applauded. Musical suport comes from Lauren McColl (fiddle) and Andy May (piano) who work well together on new and traditoinal material alike. The samples on his MySpace page (external link) are played with virtuosity and sensitivity -- check out his version of Tullochgorum -- and I have a feeling that this recording will influence a great many others.

I had the good fortune to see him perform at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in January and his unasuming character belies a great talent. He appears to be continually gigging, so there should be a good chance to catch him live somewhere near you.

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Nuala Kennedy is a flute player, singer and composer from Dundalk who has been resident in Scotland for a while now. She played with The Big Squeeze Ceilidh Band (with whom I currently play) before forming Fine Friday with fiddler Anna-Wendy Stevenson and singer guitarist Kris Drever, recording a couple of notable CDs together. She has also recorded and toured with Harem Scarem and Anam and been a teacher at Boxwood.

A powerful and inventive player, last year she released The New Shoes with a band that included fiddler/ flute player Claire Mann. Her web site (external link) has further information and track samples. A well-received mixture of Irish, Scots, Cape Breton, Breton and original tunes and songs, I have also added this to the discography.

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I have added Flúit, June McCormack's Irish flute tutor, to the printed resources section. I had the opportunity to browse through it last summer and it certainly looks to be a useful resource. You can find out more, including her recordings, at the Draoicht web site (external link).

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Finally, an extraordinary web site recently came to my attention, that of Belfast flute player Michael Clarkson. An exceptional flute player, he has a musical blog and regularly records and uploads set of tunes that are free to listen to. He even does requests. His Irish Flute Tunes site is here (external link) and I have added a link to the resources section of The Flow.



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Rachel Howitt
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Rachel Howitt at The White Stag, Leeds




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