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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:18 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
The bodhrán really made it from household implement to wrenboy noisemaker to musical instrument. O'Riada is usually given the credit for reviving/introducing it to the mainstream but there was an undercurrent of 'tambourine' players, with bells and all during the middle of the 20th century at least.


I've never seen any evidence that bodhrán, per se existed as a /musical/ instrument before O'Riada.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:47 pm 
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highland-piper wrote:

I've never seen any evidence that bodhrán, per se existed as a /musical/ instrument before O'Riada.


It was certainly popular supporting the fifes of the wrenboys in some areas, North Kerry for example.

Some wellknown images of that exist too.

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The Morrison flute 78rpms have already been mentioned.

Fintan Vallely put together a lot of information, not sure he published it all but have seen him do 'the talk'. O'Riada didn't make it up out of thin air although he probably integrated the thing into ensemble playing.

There were older players documented during the fifties, in West Clare I could think of Thady Casey, Marcus Walsh and people like that and I don't believe they took them up because of O'Riada.

Lack of documentation doesn't necessarily mean there weren't a few around in pockets here and there.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:48 pm 
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highland-piper wrote:
Mr.Gumby wrote:
The bodhrán really made it from household implement to wrenboy noisemaker to musical instrument. O'Riada is usually given the credit for reviving/introducing it to the mainstream but there was an undercurrent of 'tambourine' players, with bells and all during the middle of the 20th century at least.


I've never seen any evidence that bodhrán, per se existed as a /musical/ instrument before O'Riada.


I do see mention of drums here and there. O'Neill mentions drums a few times, but not in his childhood. I haven't been tracking it because it's tangential, but I've seen a few other mentions. There's that painting of "snap apple night" where a guy is playing what we'd call a tambourine Bodhran-style. Not clear how "musical" that would have been.

A great mystery is the Tom Morrison/John Reynolds flute and Bodhran stuff. Where did that come from? It's a clearly developed style--Reynolds has obviously done that more than once. But it's like it appeared from nowhere. It might be some kind of US minstrel/Vaudeville thing. "Mr. Tambo" was a stock figure in the minstrel show.


Sorry i see Mr. Gumby already posted all this. Still where in the world did the Morrison/Reynolds thing come from?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:23 am 
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Quote:
I do see mention of drums here and there.


But quite possibly the types played in (marching) bands, pipe, fife and brass bands were all popular at one time and drummers would be part of them. Some of the 78 rpms used drums (Leo Rowsome did a few of those, for example).

But, like the bodhrán (or perhaps more correctly: the tambourine) initially was, they're still strongly associated with the wren boys.

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Aoife Granville, Charlie Piggot and other members of the Sraid Eoin Wren at Muirís Ó Rochain's funeral

Percussion may not have been all that common outside band settings, people did use what they had handy, if someone wanted to whack something. In home settings anything kept around the house could have done: the bodhran, a winnowing dish, seems to have developed from there but also spoons, the old, dreaded, coin and glass etc. I have even seen a duet of flute and tongs (and it worked well too).

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:00 am 
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This is the detail of the painting of which Hammily Hamilton says "Detail of a painting of about 1842 showing the interior of a shebeen in Listowel, County Kerry. The fluteplayer is playing what is obviously a full-sized flute, and appears to be wearing a military style cap. The other musician is playing the bodhran, the Irish frame drum. This is the first depiction of either instrument in an Irish traditional context." (from "The simple-system flute in Irish traditional music" by Samuel Colin Hamilton, 2007)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:24 am 
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As far as I know that and the "snap apple night" painting, which also appears as a lithograph, are the only visual depictions of Bodhran playing in the 19th century. But as Mr. Gumby mentions there had to have been drum playing traditions, both in ireland and related to the experience of being in the army or seeing the british army on the march.

Keane's "The Bodhran Makers" describes it not just as a wren dance thing, but as a tradition that's musical--an adult can be known as a good Bodhran player--in Kerry. He also has a character from the north, an Irish native, who's never heard of a Bodhran.

It's still not clear to me where john Reynolds was from--I think I've seen Leitrim? But he clearly had a well developed and specifically irish style in the late 1920s. Were they called "bodhrans" then, or just tambourines?

Also while at the Mercer museum I noticed Mercer had collected a bunch of hoop shaped grain sifts, the things Bodhrans are alleged to be based on.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:32 am 
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Quote:
Keane's "The Bodhran Makers" describes it not just as a wren dance thing, but as a tradition that's musical--an adult can be known as a good Bodhran player--in Kerry. He also has a character from the north, an Irish native, who's never heard of a Bodhran.


A lot of references coming out of North Kerry and West Limerick, definitely a pocket where tambourines/bodhrans were strong. You may (or may not) know of the 1977 documentary on Sonny Canavan, up in the RTE archive : here. But there were others also, this 1966 one for example. Nice old photographs knocking about too, the famous 1946 ones of the boy with bodhran & stick by Kevin Danaher :


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but many others as well, a lot associated with the Wren :

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There was another old character who used to come up sell his stuff during the eighties and early nineties, nice old guy although I forget his name now, he may or may not have come down from the Gort area:

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