bodhran and negative perceptions

bodhran and negative perceptions

I’m doing a uni essay on the bodhran’s ambiguous role in trad music, and cant really get much info on the sometimes negative perception it receives by some players.
I’m sick to the teeth on reading about it being the "heartbeat of trad music". I want something jucier to add to the essay. Just for the record, I have nothing against bodhran players.
Anyone got any comments or useful links??? your help would be much appreciated!!
cheers
L

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

La`ra,
You see the reason you can’t get any info on negative perceptions is that there aren’t any. The bodhran, heartbeat of trad. music, is the most universally celebrated and admired instrument. Ask anyone on this site. Honest.

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the heartbeat of trad. music rules! ok! just listen to brolum’s "Waulking Song" and then tell me the bodhran has a negative effect. WOWEE! i wish i could play it

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Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

Mike,
Can you direct me to any site or cd where I can hear it?

Thanks,

Joe

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

L

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

Joe’s right Lara - if you really want to know, look back at past discussions for a huge amount of thoughts and reactions on bodhrans.

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Well, really, that’s almost too much information to give to the poor girl…! (Not that you shouldn’t search through the threads, Lara.) Lara, you’ll generally find that it’s not usually so much the instrument as the person wielding the thing, and that’s true for every instrument in the Irish trad conglomerate.

Part of the problem is that the bodhran is often seen as an instrument that you can play "when you can’t play actual music", and, surprise, surprise, someone who approaches the bodhran in such a way generally doesn’t play music on it at all. Too many bodhran players don’t know the tunes and can’t be bothered to learn them, and think that they can accompany anything (sometimes in extreme cases up to and including slow airs). (This is also true of guitar players and fiddlers and fluters and all the rest as well.)

I’ve sat in sessions with bodhran players who played the exact same beat for everything from hornpipes to reels to jigs to slip jigs to airs. I’ve sat in sessions where you couldn’t hear the rest of the instruments from the joyful, exuberant, but, most of all, LOUD goat thumping from the bodhrans.

To more or less quote an extremely famous player I interviewed once for an article, I’m glad they’re having fun, I’m glad they’re doing something better than sitting at home watching TV, but it makes me wish I wasn’t there.

Now, when a bodhran is sensitively played by someone who knows the tunes and what s/he can add to it with a beat, by someone who sees themselves as a musician and behaves as one should — it really adds to the music, and I really enjoy playing with someone like that.

HTH — Zina

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

joe: if you go to www.brolum.co.uk and then to the download section, you can download the Waulking song mp3 there. - FANTASTIC!!!! WOOWOO.

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oh yeh for interest: martin o’neil who plays in brolum is all-ireland, all-scotland, and all britain champion on the Bodhran, so hes pretty good.

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So has anybody else heard the song about the German tourist in Ireland who hears a bodhran and decides that he’s going to play one? Shocked by the price tag, he decides he’ll just go out and shoot a goat and make one himself. He doesn’t succeed, but instead gets arrested for carrying an unlicensed firearm. I’m afraid I can’t provide a source for the song, as it was on a CD loaned to me for a day in Ireland in January, and wasn’t in the right jewel case.

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I think it was Tim Lyons who wrote that song, Gary. ( Or possibly Con O’Driscoll.)

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Im sure Tomai Taylor will be able to give you plenty of negativity if you ask him nicely.

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Hi Lara,

Interesting essay choice! I don’t have any definative sources or links but would like to offer my own humble opinion.

I think that the reason Bodhran playing has no clear defined role in ITM is because there are so few good bodhran players. I am not talking about the regular names that turn up on recordings, but good session players.

Knowing the tune is vital to good bodhran playing, and the only effective way to learn the tune is by learning to play tunes on a melody instrument. Learning the melody instrument then becomes the main focus and the bodhran becomes the secondary - I know this has happened to me - I wonder how many other players started on a whistle to lern the tunes and got hooked in and turned to melody instead of rythm.

Cheers

Steve

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

Thanks, Mike. I’ll have a listen.
Clunk, i came to play the bodhr

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Lara - any relation to Barry Kerr or Lara Croft??

Just type in the word bodhran into the search tab n discussions to get over 1500 comments.

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Thanks again, Mike. A graaaaaaaand waulking song.

joe

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

Ok joe "knowing the tune etc" was a bit lame, was in a hurry to get the lads out, but you know what I mean - why do you think that there are so few good players? I know there are good folk out there, but I go to alot of sessions and have only met one really good player - can’t say the same for any other instrument.

Steve.

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Bodhran….Penknife…..Dynamite… Need I say more?

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Joe: its a beast!!!! i know people are just joking with the bodhran comments etc. but i think its ACE! i was practicing over xmas but thats the first time i ever really picked it up. made it my plan to be an expert by the year 2010 (if i’m still living) so every uni holiday i’ll be home practicin! (dont have access to any goats in edinburgh)!!!! good luck with the S.A. btw Lara. i’ve given up writing essays - officially.

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Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

steve, i’m going to be pretty philosophical about the whole thing. the trad music (irish/scottish/whatever) is by far the most challenging and interesting and brilliant music around which is why i like it so much. The magnificent music attracts many folks because its so great; and; they hear it and think "wow i want to be involved" so many go for the easy option which is the rhythm section (Same in any form of music); but in reality the rhythm section is very challenging aswell. So there are many bad bodhran players. and only a few good ones.

"keep your hand upon your wages and your eye upon the scale" (true mining bodhran advice)

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Lara feel free to quote my pathetic syntax in your essay. its all true but i just cant articulate it properly

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someone from Limerick Trad course did their Masters thesis on John Joe kelly and is available to read at the archives in dublin …make interesting and amusing reading …

is the Bodhr

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

bodhran comes from English ‘bourin from "tambourine". I think you can thank Sean O’Riada for its presence in Irish music today.

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The Irish "bodhr

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"bodhran comes from English ‘bourin from "tambourine"

What? Never heard THAT one. Sources?

Oh, and although the instrument was not used terribly widely, it did appear and was recorded as accompaniment to traditional dance music pre-Riada.

chris smith

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

Well Laura, I’m touting on ya, to my Da and your Baz, ha ha. Your Baz’s painting exhibition starts today in the Conway Mill doesn’t it? Are you still going up to Barry’s house for a feed during the week? Did you see Cara Dillon on the Meteor awards last night? She did great, got the "Best Female Artist" award, so fair play to her. She did Dungiven very proud anyhow, and a well deserved award for her (not that I’m biased or anything) (",). Anyhow, here are a few quotes for your essay: 1) "If you just pick it up and hack at it, you’ll be one more person adding to the bad reputation that plagues Irish traditional percussionists. In Irish traditional music, the tune is everything. You really can’t stress enough that getting the rhythm is critical. However, unlike rock and a lot of other styles, the rhythm instruments are not there to create the rhythm, but to draw it out, to accent and highlight it. The rhythm itself comes from the tune - how it is structured and phrased - and how it is played by the melody players alters rhythms greatly. The bodhr

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We have occasionally played "session-charades" where a musician drums on the table with two fingers and the other musicians have to guess the tune. You should be able to do it by subtle emphasis … or whistling if the audience get stuck (Only playable amongst musicians, I know).
You SHOULD be able to do the same on the goat ….. providing you know the tune as well.

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John B was a fine author and playwright but he knew f……. all about traditional music.
His attitude to the music and the "musicianers" was typified by the fact that his pub in Listowel was closed for the duration of the Fleadh in 1970, with a notice in the window leaving passers by in no doubt as to the motive.
I think his remarks about the origin and development of the bodhr

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

The following definition and etymology for the word bodhran is from an online dictionary:

bodhran: - A hand-held goatskin drum used in traditional Irish music and often played with a stick.
[Irish Gaelic bodhr

Re: bodhran and negative perceptions

A few minutes poking about over a cup of tea reveals that Tambourine is derived from Tambourin, a french word, a diminutive of Tambour.

Tambour itself is Middle English, from Old French, ultimately from Arabic tanbur, (stringed musical instrument) - probably akin to Persian tambur, (lute), from Middle Persian.

From this it seems likely that there is no connection at all between the names of bodhran and tambourine.

Dave

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Bouzouki comes from a Turkish word meaning "broken." So Irish music these days is full of broken dim-witted deafeners…

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The bodhran is actually derived from the old words "Bodkin" or Bod and "ran". Much like the Scottish war pipes it was used as a weapon to cause the enemy "bods" to retreat in fear and disarray.
Nowadays in the absence of any surviving enemies it is employed by bar staff to clear out pubs of beer swilling trad. musos. before they form the nasty habit of regaling inoffensive beer sippers with the music of the gaelic wild savages.

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As in "Ban Joe"?

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Or "Vile Din"

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Or De Ave ….De goodbye

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LOL — gosh, Lara, I *do* hope some of this has helped you, because now you’ve uncorked Joe and Dave and we may never get them back into their bottles…. *smirk*

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Ay up Joe - looks like the ZinaMatic has cut in now.

I guess it’s programmed to monitor the number of posts someone puts on a thread, and if two members alternate more than, say, three times, it cuts in with something to try and throw them off track.

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If we are in the bottle (or our cups), better off being thrown off the track before the 6.15 from Cork whistles through.

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Zina,
Get back to your needlework.

Joe

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Ach, I’m off to the pub. Der be nobody around here dis time of a Friday afternoon.

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*smirk* Oh, you two.

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Did you have a good time in corofin Lara??

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there should be a shop where, before you can buy a bodhran, you have to trade in two of them.
Onny

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thanks very much everyone for your kind help, some good wee quotes to stick in here and there. Murrough, I’m not crediting you for nothing, i’m taking all the credit myself! If its a bad mark, then I’ll blame you!!!
Lara

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If you put my name on it ur sure to fail :P, so just take all the credit yourself. I wish there was a site like this around when I was doing my masters and I would have just put a few posts up here and there and pledgerised all the good stuff in the replies. Best of luck with the paper, cheatin fecker! :P Hello to Baz from me! Murrough