Flute Players at Gathering in West Cork, 2010

Flute Players at Gathering in West Cork, 2010

Now playing: The milkmaid, jig ; Tatter Jack Walsh, jig / Patsy Hanley, flute
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  1. The milkmaid, jig ; Tatter Jack Walsh, jig / Patsy Hanley, flute
  2. Gregg’s pipes, reel / John Blake, flute
  3. Who stole the miner’s hat, single ; Hughie Wensel’s, single / Hammy Hamilton, flute
  4. The floating crowbar, reel ; Temple Rise, reel ; Fed Finn’s reel / Catherine McEvoy, flute
  5. Budgie’s ball, jig ; Money for jam, jig / Conal Ó Gráda, flute
  6. Réchnoic mná duibhe, air ; Untitled, polka / Aoife Granville, flute
  7. Donald blue, reel ; The swallow’s tail, reel / Harry Bradley, flute
  8. The Shanghai march ; Tandragee, jig ; The swallow’s tail, reel / Fintan Vallely, flute
  9. The flowers of Redhill, reel ; Preston’s, reel / Patsy Hanley, flute
  10. The maid of Mount Kisco, reel ; The scholar, reel / Patsy Hanley, flute, & others

Flute Players at Gathering in West Cork, 2010

The German flute, so called – the simple-system wooden transverse flute – was first used for the playing of traditional music in Ireland in the 1710s, but was not taken up widely by Irish musicians until about the mid-1800s, by which time it was being used as an instrument in temperance bands and political bands, and had been generally displaced in classical music by keyed metal flutes. Since then strong regional traditions of Irish flute playing have grown up, particularly in the regions of Sligo-Roscommon-Leitrim, Clare-Limerick, and east Ulster.

The playing of the wooden flute has grown phenomenally in the course of the Irish traditional music revival of the last forty or so years, especially among women players. Virtuoso performers have emerged, new playing techniques have evolved, and new instruments are being manufactured. But flute players have not followed warpipers, harpers or uilleann pipers in coming together to promote the playing of their instrument specifically and make common cause – until recently.

In 2006, 2008 and 2010 Cruinniú na bhFliúit (a gathering of flutes) was held over three days in Ballyvourney, Co Cork, with flute recitals, seminars, classes, discussions and lectures, and a final concert. ITMA made audio and video field recordings at the April 2010 Cruinniú, with the kind cooperation of the festival organisers and the participating flute players, and a selection of the recordings from the final concert is presented here.

This year’s Cruinniú na bhFliúit will take place on 27–30 April 2011, again in Ballyvourney. For programme and other details see http://www.hamiltonflutes.com/cruinniu.html.

With thanks to Hammy Hamilton, Conall Ó Gráda, and the flute players who have kindly agreed to have recordings of their 2010 concert performances reproduced here.

NC & DD, 1 April 2011