Irish music accompaniment is, in my humble opinion an undervalued skill. It can make or break a music ensemble. A good accompanist will enhance the playing of others, adding to the musicality of the performance, while a bad accompanist... Well, I'm sure we've all encountered one at one stage or another. The overly loud bodhrán player. The four chord guitar wonder. The clueless keys player. These are just a few of the characters you don't want to end up sitting beside at an Irish music session...
The tin whistle is one of the most popular traditional Irish musical instruments in the world. This is due in large part to its immense playability. This simple instrument is deceptively versatile and the perfect starter instrument for anyone looking to dip their toe into the waters of traditional Irish music for the first time. Lightweight and affordable, the tin whistle is one of the most accessible traditional Irish musical instruments out there. If you're looking to pick up a new instrument...
While the bodhrán was originally (and still can be) played by hand, modern Irish bodhrán playing favours the use of the bodhrán beater - also known as a tipper, stick or cipín. The increasing popularity of the modern Irish bodhrán playing style has seen a huge increase in the variety of bodhrán beaters available. Like bodhráns, beaters now come in all shapes and sizes, with different beaters producing different sounds. So where do you start if you're in the market for a new bodhr...
Piano accordions are contentious instruments. They're like the marmite of the traditional music world. People seem to either love them or hate them. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure where this bad reputation originated. What I do know however, is that in the right hands, the piano accordion is an absolute joy to listen to! There's no shortage of great players around today, carrying the mantle for this oft-maligned instrument. That's why I've put together this celebration of three of my favo...
Electric violins have always been controversial instruments. What many don’t realise however is just how versatile they really are. These exciting instruments offer a huge range of options that simply aren’t available on an acoustic instrument. If you want to experiment with sounds, explore new genres and have fun with loop pedals and different effects, then the electric violin is definitely the right choice for you. Your heart may lie with traditional Irish music but perhaps you’re tempte...
The process of building a bodhrán is truly magical. I love nothing more than seeing one of my favourite musical instruments take shape before my eyes. I've been honing my craft for over 40 years now, and yet it never ceases to amaze me. The art of bodhrán making is something that intrigues many people. Curious customers frequently ask me about the process, wanting to know more about how their brand new instrument was created. So I thought I'd share my process. If you want to learn how this b...
Despite the popularity of B/C tuning within the modern world of traditional Irish music, the C#/D press and draw system was actually around first! This traditional style of Irish button accordion playing is based on the simple 10 key one row melodeon system. So it makes sense, due to the popularity of the Irish melodeon, that the C#/D accordion would follow in its footsteps. Like the B/C system, there has been no shortage of brilliant press and draw accordion players over the years. But who are ...
In what has already been a strange and unpredictable year, the emerging trend that has most taken me by surprise is the sudden surge in the popularity of sea shanties. For reasons this auld fella may never understand, there's been a resurgence of these nautical working songs. How did all begin? Climb aboard and we'll go on a quick adventure... The Wellerman It all started when a young Scottish man's rendition of the 19th century whaling song, Soon May the Wellerman Come - or The Wellerman as it...
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