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Mark Stone CD [05 Feb 2012|09:08pm]

Hallo, bodhranaí!

My friend, Mark, is re-releasing his bodhrán CD if he can get it backed at Kickstarter by 26 February. Mark is a fantastic player and teacher, so if there's anybody out there who's looking for bodhrán lessons or simply something to practise along with, consider backing him. 

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Tuneable makers in the Midwest [30 Jul 2010|01:10am]

Can anyone pass along names, links, emails, ect of Makers of Tuneable bodhan makers in the US Midwest?
Go raibh maith agat
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[25 Nov 2008|10:56am]

OK, not trying to raise any paranoia, but this story was interesting even if it isn't about bodhrans.

From http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/30/london_anthrax_case/:

A London-based drum-maker who apparently contracted anthrax from imported animal skins is in a "serious but stable" condition in Hackney's Homerton Hospital, the Hackney Gazette reports.

The unnamed victim, said to be Spanish by the Gazette, was diagnosed with the disease on Saturday, and samples were sent to the Porton Down chemical weapons lab for analysis. While health chiefs have stressed there is "no risk to the public", experts from the laboratory will next week enter the workshop to assess the premises for possible decontamination.

Professor Nigel Lightfoot, Chief Advisor at the Health Protection Agency, said: "This patient makes and then plays animal skin drums for a living. It is through making these drums that exposure to and inhalation of anthrax spores on an imported animal hide has taken place. The risk to others who play these drums is very low. It is the process of removing the animal hairs during the making of drums that can put people at risk."

Back in 2006, 50-year-old Christopher Norris from the Scottish Borders died of the disease after "playing or handling West African drums". An enquiry concluded that he'd succumbed to inhalation anthrax - the first such case seen in the UK for over a century.

Anthrax is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis - commonly seen in cattle, sheep and goats. Infected animals can pass it to humans, but it is not transmitted between people.
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John Burleson, Mimi Rogers, and Gypsy Youngraven at Conlon's Pub [18 Jun 2008|02:43pm]

Hallo everybody!

I'll be playing at Conlon's Pub this Saturday night with John Burleson (one of the region's best Irish guitarists and Mimi Rogers (a brilliant Irish/Old time fiddle player). We go on at 9pm, and we'd love to see you.

Here are the details:
Saturday, 21 June 2008
9pm - 12am
Conlon's Pub
2528 White Settlement Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 698-9777


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Solos! [12 Mar 2008|08:09pm]

So I've finished my Bodhran 3 class last night. (The next class is Bodhran 3 Repertoire.) Our "final exam" was accompanying live music, specifically a mandolin player. OK, that's nothing new to me, but this challenge was both interesting and difficult because we had to include a solo in there. I've never done a solo before unless you count my practicing in my living room.

We completed a short practice on solo work back and forth in 4/4 and 6/8. We were given a choice of the mandolin player starting off with a reel or a jig, then we would do a solo however we wanted and for however long we wanted, and finally we would lead the musician back into a tune of the other option.

I thought that I would fall flat on my face. The warm-up exercise was great, but I was among musicians for whom I have a great deal of respect. I played the reel (my first choice) nice and straight, nothing terribly fancy except for a few triplets here and there. I let him play through once, then I chimed in when he came back to part A. When my solo came up, I kept hearing the tune in my head but I had a difficult time breaking into 6/8! I showboated for a bit on only the "tricks" I knew I could do really well, but I found that the musician wasn't taking my cues to start again! I dropped a few beats to make the transition, and finally he chimed in and I went back to playing straight. I got some positive feedback and some reminders on what I can do to improve. Phew.

I saw doing solos like learning the colloquialisms of a foreign language. Learning how to speak formally is a key foundation, but to fully experience the cultural offerings tied to a certain language, it becomes more of a challenge because you've acclimated to a certain style of conversation. It's worth the effort to break out of that mold, however!

Here are a few tips from my instructor on doing solos:
read more...Collapse )

Thoughts are not only welcome, but comments are highly encouraged!!
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I come bearing a gift... :D [21 Dec 2007|04:47pm]

 I hope its on topic enough... all I can say is I am doing some recording with my bodhrans, and am using this to good effect :D

Probably quite a few of you guys know about it, but I think its worth mentioning! Audacity is a free legal download of a good comprehensive recording and mixing program... I found it a while back and am loving it. 

:) Happy Xmas all.  
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newbie question [16 Oct 2007|12:18pm]

Interesting disagreement, and I am not on either side since i dont honestly know for sure. Pronnunciation of "bodhran"

Is it phonetically "bod-ran" as one chap says, or as the other guy says "bo-ran"?
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Does this happen to you? [15 Oct 2007|05:44pm]

[ mood | Nigh unto unconscious ]

It's always interesting when I'm presented with a new sound tech. Since the band have been playing more festivals of late, it's more likely that we'll not end up with our usual sound tech (the one to whom I'm married - convenient, innit?).

They all of them usually ask me the same bipartite question: should you like more bodhrán in the monitor? Should they (indicating my band mates) like more bodhrán in the monitor?


It isn't as though these aren't people acquainted with Irish music at all. I always fix them with a baffled look and tell them that it's alright - I don't need to hear myself, and my mates don't want to hear me either. :D

Does this ever happen to you?

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Not exactly a realisation... [15 Oct 2007|02:47pm]

[ mood | I've got a mood, yes ]

...but rather a reminder:

Bodhráns with other than fibreskin heads aren't keen on being played in damp conditions.

Lest anybody in the world could possibly forget that. :S

10 Tippers | Add to the beat

Albert Alfonso Workshop, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [16 Jul 2007|01:08pm]

[ mood | excited ]

For those of you in the western Pennsylvania area and surrounding states, please check out our upcoming workshop with famous bodhran producer and player, Albert Alfonso! Albert will have a large supply of newly-made bodhráns (including his new pre-broken skins and self-tuning model) and sticks for purchase.

Sunday, July 22, 2007
Bodhrán workshop with percussionist/drummaker Albert Alfonso

Please register online at http://www.hooley.info/drumworkshop.html
(Don't miss the evening's free performance with Spot/Albert -- http://www.myspace.com/spotalbert

The workshops:
1. Advanced bodhrán workshop (with Albert and Spot focusing on melody
accompaniment), 1:30pm to 3pm, $20.

2. Beginning bodhrán workshop (drums available for use), 3:30pm to 5pm, $20.

Workshops to be held at:
The Celtic Connection
409 Lincoln Avenue, Bellevue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15202

Plus...don't miss the Spot and Albert performance at the Backstage Bar in the Theatre District! Show starts at 8 p.m. and there is NO cover!

Hope to see you there!

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Awkward introduction [11 Jul 2007|06:21pm]

[ mood | eee. ]

I've just joined up. Hallo.


Mise mi fein:
I'm a bodhránaí (complete with sineadh fada - ooooh)
I play a funny little Remo bodhrán with a fibre skin head (so that I can get it wet, yes this is important)
I've been playing for 15 years. I think. I've taken drink since then.
I'd rate my playing at a solid 5 on a scale of 1-10 (not that it matters).
I'd rate my ability to write an amusing introduction at a solid 2 on a scale of 1-100. I do realise that I can't have everything (where would I put it all).
I'm in a band (but who isn't?), and you can find us here or here if you're so inclined.

Peace out, slán go foill, and mind the gap,

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Questions [09 Jul 2007|04:23pm]

Right, I'll bite. ;-)

Question-round for anyone who cares to answer (and remember, you are all appointed volunteers).

How long do you own a Bodhran?
* I own mine since some 4 years now.

How often do you play/practice?
* For me, it varies. I try to drum at least once a week, but lately this is not too succesful.

Why a Bodhran? There are so many other kinds of drums.
* The shape and size, the origin and of course: the sound.

How do you do maintenance on your Bodhran?
* Mine has a double goatskin (tunable). Once every 4 months I treat the skin with a bit of olive oil that I slowly and gently rub over the skin to keep it smooth and alive. The oil stays on for about half an hour, then I take it off with kitchen paper, after which I dry the skin with a clean cloth.
I clean the wooden rim with a damp cloth, that is all.

Have fun answering!
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Greetings! [07 Jun 2007|09:03am]

Introducing ... TonyCollapse )
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Introduction [21 May 2007|09:08am]

I just joined this wonderful community. I'm so glad there's a place for bodhran players to gather! My name is Michelle (though I go by Crysania as well) and I play bodhran and whistle in the Syracuse, NY area. I've been a lifelong wind player (studied clarinet, came into Irish whistle about 4 years ago), but I got fascinated by the bodhran and started playing it a couple years ago. For a time, I played a cheap one I got off eBay, but last October I got my first real drum. I currently play a 16" Eckermann. What a sound that thing has! I can't imagine ever wanting another drum.

You can hear some of my work on this album. My partner (who plays fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, and banjo, among other string instruments -- he plays guitar and octave mandolin on this recording) and I backed up a friend for her most recent recording. You can hear my playing most prominently on the track called Grania (#13). Unfortunately, the recording was done with the older drum, so it's a bit raspy and not quite as deep and clear as the Eckermann.
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Cormac Byrne [10 May 2007|05:24pm]

Check out the pure joy on this young man's face. He's fantastic! (And he plays the same bodhran that I play!)

Can you pick out any familiar rhythms there? :)
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Intro [06 May 2007|11:00am]

Hi everyone. I joined this community a few days ago, but haven't had time to say much. I'm mostly a fretted instrument player, and also a huge jaw harp geek, but I've played bodhran and bones since the mid-1980s. I'm still playing the cheapo ugly tourist bodhran I started out on, and surprisingly happy with it. I'm particularly interested in the old ways of playing. I don't completely shut out the new stuff, but the traditions fascinate me.

I play both with and without a tipper, even a little of stick and thong after I read about that.

Something to try, if any of you also play bones -- hold the tipper, hold the bones in your other hand and strike them with the tipper. I don't use my real bone bones for this, just in case.
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Introductions al around [03 May 2007|09:30am]

Hi all-

I've been playing bodhran for 11 years now (same amount of time I've been at the GA renaissance festival, fancy that). I've been in involved with music since can remember and was a music ed/performance major in college (emphasis on horn and voice) and I've been with several renaissance-folk music bands over the years. My current band is The Tenpenny Travelers and we've got a community here on LJ land too- ten_penny.

I currently play on a Brian Howard 18" synthetic with internal tuning. I'll admit the synthetic doesn't sound as good as some of the natural skin heads I have played, but it really holds up much better to the abuse it gets at ren faires. I've got close to 8 years on my Brian Howard and it just now showing a little wear and tear. I am looking into a new deep shell bodhran for some upcoming recording sessions though, just to try them out.

Most of my tippers are custom made for me buy a local friend with a wood shop. It's good stuff. I also just made a pair of leather mutes for my main tipper that really cut down on the initial "tack" sound that was a pain to deal with in the studio. It makes the drum really resonate and sound very smooth. Great for studio or solo playing- not so much when you really need to be heard though or are competeing with an entire ren fest musicians cast ;-)

Aside from playing the bodhran, I lay claim to the most useless set of instrumental proficiencies: voice, horn, bodhran, trumpet, tin whistles (C & D mainly), some flute, some hammered dulcimer, and just enough piano to be dangerous. *giggle*

Thanks for the community- I look forward to seeing what we all have to offer.

BTW, if you happen to swing by the GA Ren Fest- you can find me there as Maudlin Mary Flynt- marooned pirate/ships musician.
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some humble advice [01 May 2007|09:21pm]

Here are a few tips to alter the sounds of your drum or reduce overtones:

Try sticking a bit of Sticky Tack (poster putty) on the inside of the skin. This idea is based on the small piece of extra skin on tablas.

Get a zero ring from a percussion store and cut to fit the inside between where the skin overlaps the shell edge. Zero rings run about $10-$15.

Pick up a few feet of pipe insulator foam from a hardware store and cut to fit the inside of the drum like a pipe.
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hello, and the fine art of goatwhackery [01 May 2007|08:34pm]

Dear bodhranii....

Greetings! Many thanks to iconoclast_dawn for creating this community and making it known to me.

I'm from the wonderful city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Irish music is alive and well. I've been playing the bodhran for just under a year, but drumming is not new to me. I played snare drum for many years and dabbled with doumbeks and tongue drums for three years going now.

My small collection of bodhrans include a tunable 20" Cooperman Glen Valez Edition with synthetic skin, a non-tunable 16" Bridget (Ontario, Canada), and a 16" Brendan White double-skin which is currently somewhere between NYC and The Netherlands and on its way to me. When Rob Forkner of Metloef Drums moves his shop, I'll likely buy a kangaroo skin form him, too.

We also have a strong Middle Eastern music and bellydance community here in the city, and I like to use my bodhran in music jams there as well. I'm certainly not a purist, and I appreciate like-minded individuals in sessions. Heck, one of my session leaders plays a Turkish cumbus and it sounds great!

I find myself still trying to find tippers that aren't unwieldy or difficult. I love the ones that Albert Alfonso makes, but they even take some getting used to. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good, lightweight tipper?
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[01 May 2007|12:50pm]

I'm in a great Celtic bank called "Queen's Gambit" and am primarily a vocalist; I've sung all my life. But we do lots of jigs and reels so we need percussion. Fortunately, I can sing and clap or play the tamborine at the same time (don't laugh, our whistler can't sing and clap at the same time at all!) but we really need a bodhranist.

I've discovered that singers don't get much respect amongst Celtic session players, which is a real shame. So I decided to take up the bodhran. What's the least respected instrument at sessions, after a vocalist? A bodhranist, of course! Figures...

We go to O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat every fall so I've had classes with the great Albert Alfonzo and with Craig Scotland who is an amazing teacher, not to mention a simply kick-ass bodhranist and dear, dear man. But I still remain 'eh' as a player, in my opinion. And I will not play at gigs until I'm decent and won't embarass myself. I want an Albert Alfonzo drum but not until I'm worth it. But I MUST have one of his tippers!

My fiance bought my first bodhran at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival three years ago as a surprise. Nice of him, to be sure, but it was farking HUGE and I'm well, short. So I sold that one and bought a 14" drum from a friend but it's still not quite right. I practice too infrequently 'cause, well, I'm busy with the house, the sewing business, the new faire, the garden, etc! I'm also trying to learn whistle and am fairly decent at bowed psaltry which unfortunately, it soo quiet to be heard at faires or gigs so that wasn't a great choice either! It's mostly to be heard on our CDs as instrumentals within songs. I'm in the market for a good bodhran without the cross-piece on the inside being so close to the head of the drum but the $150 isn't in the budget right now; there's a wedding to pay for!

So I'm still primarily a singer...

If anybody wants to learn more about the band, we're at: www.queens-gambit.com
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