Ennis Trad Festival 2006

by nwup member Lynne Redmond

ENNIS TRAD FESTIVAL 9th to 13th November 2006

Should have known that we would have a great time when I won the ‘In Flight raffle’ on the way to Shannon Airport. (More about the prize later!)

We arrived at lunchtime on Thursday to join a gentle, introductory, session in Ciaran’s bar. Met old friends and new (pic 1). It was my George Ormiston flute’s first trip to Ireland and whether it was the Guiness or the Craic it responded beautifully to the environment.  

The evening was spent in Brogan’s where Quentin Cooper’s steady pulse and lovely Claire style of Reel playing, settled us nicely for better things to come (pic 2). In this same session was a guy from Colorado, with a set of Seth Gallagher pipes, bemoaning the trials of how reeds can behave badly in dry climates!

It was music to my eyes and ears to see from the programme that the cream of Irish flute players were going to be around for the weekend.

Friday evening we played in the company of Eamon Cotter and Michael Broderick (pics 3&4).  Michael is the nephew of Vincent Broderick who wrote, among other tunes, The Haunted House (Old Leitrim).

He played a set of Dave Williams pipes left handed and much to my delight played one of my favourite reels, Lucy Campbell’s. This reel seemed to be a standard session tune over there. Playing with Eamon Cotter was both a pleasure and a privilege.

Early Saturday afternoon I discovered a talented young piper in Tom Steele’s bar whose relaxed style made piping look effortless. He played a set of Alan Fremont’s Pipes. A typical teenager he played the most amazing tunes interspersed with checking his text messages! (pic 5 and clip 1).

At 3pm the same day I had the amazing experience of playing with Catherine McEvoy in Mickey Kerrin’s. She is a brilliant flute player from Roscommon; such an inspiration and extremely encouraging (pic 6).

It was great to try out and talk flutes and I came to the conclusion that my flute was more than up to the job. Even Eamon Cotter thought so and he makes excellent flutes!

Saturday evening was spent watching Mick Coyne in concert in the Queen’s Hotel. Another left handed piper whose piping was unfortunately lost a lot of the time in the sound mix. (pic 7 and clip 2). Sadly I missed Gary Shannon playing-there was just so much to be involved with. One was spoilt for choice!

Following the piping workshop at the Wildwood weekend earlier this year with our own excellent Becky Taylor, I have been practicing hard on pipes and flute and listening to the great flute and pipe players.

This injection of real Irish music in Ennis was just what I needed at this stage in my musical journey to inspire my efforts further. The pipes did not make the journey this time but hopefully they will have a first in Ireland too in the not too distant future.

Whenever I become faint hearted about my progress I read the following quotation which always help;.

It takes between 1,000 and 2,000 hours of directed tuition to become competent on a musical instrument (that’s five hours a day, every day for a year or an hour a day for five years-take your pick!)

Second it takes about 15,000 hours of playing to become an expert.

The moral of the tale is however good you are, you are a novice for a long time and some of us are going to be just above competent most of our lives.

Enjoy your musical journey, whatever it means to you as I have discovered that it is the process as much as the outcome that matters.

P.S. the ‘In Flight’ prize was a free flight with Ryanair (yes I know they are cheap but never look a gift horse in the mouth!. It’s the William Kennedy Piping Festival next weekend!

Happy Playing

Lynn Redmond