ENNIS TRAD FESTIVAL 9th to 13th November
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
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
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!