From County Carlow in the south east of Ireland, my musical journey began at the age of 10 with tin whistle and uilleann pipe lessons with Mikey Byrne and instruction on the flute with John Browne thereafter. Every stage of one’s journey is punctuated with significant events. My first was an awakening to the sound of the wooden flute. I was fourteen, with my father Seamus; it was August 1991 at the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo.
The sound of the flute was everywhere in the town that weekend. The air was full of flute music as was my head. I listened and listened and watched and recorded player after player, some good and some great. I filled up a handful of tapes on my Sony Walkman and spent the following months studying what I had discovered!
It is no surprise that I was drawn to the North Connacht style of flute playing particularly the playing of Matt Molloy, Seamus Tansey and Peter Horan just to name a few.
Later in my teenage years I attended the summer school circuit starting in Clare then on to Sligo and Leitrim. I soaked up all they had to offer, both formal and informal learning, in the classroom and in the pub.
Studying music at third level as well as encounters with Breton Flute player Jean-Michel Veillon and Japanese shakuhachi master Furuya Teruo widened my horizons considerably. Lifelong friendships were forged.
Brittany in the north west of France was the setting for the next turn on the road. Pol Jezequel was a stranger to me when I arranged to buy flute from him in the summer of 2006. We met in the beautiful medieval village of Guémené Sur Scoff where Nicolas Quemener happened to be living. This led to numerous reciprocal trips between Carlow and Brittany culminating with the recording of ‘Faoi Bhláth’ in 2009 with Carlow fiddler Dave Sheridan and Nicolas Quemener on guitar.
I am indebted to all those who I have met and who have encouraged me on this journey. Special mention to Pol whose craftsmanship in flute making is exceptional and whose generosity has been overwhelming. I am particularly grateful to Nicolas who has engineered every technical aspect of this recording and of course for his wonderful guitar accompaniment throughout.
Currently teaching music at second level in my home county I continue to develop all aspects of my playing, which I share with you in the form of this album. A mix and gather of tunes from my journey to date. Here and …now