Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Padraig O'Keeffe's Slide

On April 27-30, 2011, I attended Cruinniú na bhFliúit (The Flute Gathering) in the village of Ballyvourney in West Cork, Ireland. Modeled after pipers' gatherings, this workshop is completely focused on traditional Irish flute playing with lots of good discussion of flutes, flute technique, flute problems, flute tunes, and various flute playing styles. Organizers Hammy Hamilton and Conal O'Grada keep the attendance intentionally small to allow people to become acquainted personally as well as musically. The intimacy that's achieved promotes learning and sharing.

Instruction is a core element of the Cruinniú. The 40 or so flute players in attendance were divided into four groups. Each group received three hours of instruction from each of the four teachers: Hammy Hamilton, Conal O'Grada, John Wynne, and Aoife Granville. Additionally, each person enjoyed 20 minutes of one-on-one advice from Tara Bingham whose flute clinic ran concurrent with the classes.

In this post I want to focus on one of the tunes we learned from Aoife (pronounced EE-fah) Granville, a Padraig O'Keeffe slide(1). O'Keeffe, a noted performer, teacher, and composer, came from the Sliabh Luchra area of Ireland near the borders of Counties Cork, Kerry, and Limerick where slides and polkas(1) are very popular. This slide was the first tune I learned at the Cruinniú. I had never heard it before (or so I thought), and I really liked it. In fact, I was quite taken with Aoife's playing and enjoyed all the tunes she taught us.

Aoife Granville