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Bodhran history

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Kim C 22 Nov 00 - 02:09 PM
Morticia 22 Nov 00 - 02:57 PM
Roger in Sheffield 22 Nov 00 - 03:19 PM
Roger in Sheffield 22 Nov 00 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Bardford 22 Nov 00 - 03:50 PM
Kim C 22 Nov 00 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Bardford 22 Nov 00 - 06:12 PM
poet 22 Nov 00 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,(Edgar A.)--a.k.a. Art Thieme 23 Nov 00 - 12:21 AM
pict 23 Nov 00 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Liam's Brother 23 Nov 00 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,JTT 23 Nov 00 - 07:47 PM
Jimmy C 23 Nov 00 - 11:01 PM
aussiebloke 24 Nov 00 - 01:31 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 24 Nov 00 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,JTT 24 Nov 00 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Mark. West Sussex 24 Nov 00 - 07:00 PM
Bernard 24 Nov 00 - 07:45 PM
Bernard 24 Nov 00 - 07:47 PM
Kim C 27 Nov 00 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 27 Nov 00 - 12:11 PM
Kim C 27 Nov 00 - 01:33 PM
paddymac 27 Nov 00 - 04:02 PM
InOBU 27 Nov 00 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Ole Bull 27 Nov 00 - 05:56 PM
GUEST 28 Nov 00 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 28 Nov 00 - 01:30 PM
Kim C 28 Nov 00 - 02:03 PM
MartinRyan 29 Nov 00 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 26 Apr 21 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 26 Apr 21 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 27 Apr 21 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 27 Apr 21 - 10:29 AM
The Sandman 27 Apr 21 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,# 27 Apr 21 - 12:46 PM
GUEST 27 Apr 21 - 01:22 PM
GUEST 27 Apr 21 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 27 Apr 21 - 02:50 PM
Jack Campin 27 Apr 21 - 03:48 PM
The Sandman 27 Apr 21 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Apr 21 - 05:08 AM
Jack Campin 28 Apr 21 - 05:43 AM
The Sandman 28 Apr 21 - 06:13 AM
The Sandman 28 Apr 21 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Apr 21 - 09:20 AM
The Sandman 28 Apr 21 - 10:10 AM
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Subject: Bodhran history
From: Kim C
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 02:09 PM

I tried looking for this on the Supersearch but it isn't cooperating today so please excuse me if this has come up before (and I'm pretty darn sure it has).

What is the history of the bodhran? Was it traditionally an instrument that called warriors to battle? Used in religious ceremonies? Played at the neighborhood ceilidh? It's my understanding that it has not always been a part of traditional Celtic music like it seems to be now.

Thanks ----------- Kim


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Morticia
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 02:57 PM

My understanding Kim, is that it was a fairly crude farm implement which was pressed into service on high days and holidays in order to make lots of noise but it's use in celtic music is a recent i.e. 20th century development.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 03:19 PM

I found a few old threads and flicked through them. Didn't see anything about the history of them. google search comes up with a lot of pages ...please don't make me read them !!

Just one then Malachy Kearns


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 03:26 PM

click on "tutor" on MK's site for some theories but no answers

Roger


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Bardford
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 03:50 PM

Try this:
Click here
There is also a link somewhere on The Bodhran Page to a book by Janet McCrickard, who has done a fair amount of research on the origin of the Bodhran. I believe the word Bodhran comes from the old Gaelic phrase for " something that everyone wants to play, but nobody wants to hear." :-}
You can get to the Bodhran home page from the above link.
Cheers, Bardford


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Kim C
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 05:25 PM

It says the word "bodhran" means "deaf"! Heeheehee!

So I realize this is a fairly new instrument to what we now call "traditional" music. But if it's been around that long, what were people doing with it? It seems like there's only theories, and no real answers. Or am I dreaming that?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Bardford
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 06:12 PM

Kim,
Apparrantly the drum was used by the Wren Boys on St. Stephen's Day. For info on the Wren Boys visit:
Click here

There is a novel by John B. Keane, The Bodhrán Makers, in which the drum and the Wren Dance are central to the narrative. A good read. As for the bodhrán connecting into 'trad' Irish music, word on the street has it that it is a fairly recent (ie. 1900's) phenomenon. Of course, the frame drum has been around forever in many if not most cultures. See Layne Redmond's book, "When the Drummers Were Women" for an exhaustive look at frame drums, women, and goddess culture.

Cheers, Bardford


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: poet
Date: 22 Nov 00 - 07:06 PM


The Bodhran was first invented by the Scots in 1462 but they had a lot of trouble with it they claimed that playing it damaged there Knuckles so much that they could'nt hold there claymores any more, so they sold the idea to the Irish who being smarter than your average at the time thought it would work better with a skin on it.

and so it has been proved.

Graham (Guernsey)
Bodhran Player and proud of it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,(Edgar A.)--a.k.a. Art Thieme
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 12:21 AM

Bodhran was invented as a diaphram for Catherine The Great. (The jews harp was invented as her I.U.D.)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: pict
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 02:36 PM

Bodhar is the Scots Gaelic word for deaf the English word bother is derived from it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Liam's Brother
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 05:45 PM

Back in 1975, I was one of 5 or 6 people in the USA playing the bodhran. The Boys of the Lough, which included Robin Morton at that time, used one of course, as did the Chieftains. The Chieftains, at that time, had not yet given up their day jobs, as I recall. The first person I ever saw playing it was Brian Herron, founder of the Irish Arts Center in New York and a few of us learned by watching him and experimenting which, I guess, is all he had done.

My bodhran was made by Davey Gunn of Listowel, Co. Kerry. He was a very traditional maker and just used what he had at hand including an automobile tire, plywood, wire and some very ripe goatskin... no Celtic designs, Guinness logos, adjustable anythings.

At that time, it was as likely to be called the tambourine as anything else and there were only a small handful of recordngs of Irish music which had bodhran played on them.

The idea of anyone being a "bodhran specialist" was inconcieveable at that time.

The bodhran is "the deafener," an indication of the high place it held in the order of Irish music.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 07:47 PM

Bodhrans were originally used for sorting wheat from chaff; you shook the wheat up and the lighter chaff blew away. The English name for the implement in the times when it was used was a dildurn. Bodhran (with a sine fada on the "a") means "little deafener".


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Jimmy C
Date: 23 Nov 00 - 11:01 PM

I believe that Guest JTT is correct, it was a farm implement for chaffing wheat. The word Bodhran means 2 things in Irish

1 - Bodhran m- deaf person 2 - Bodhran m - hand drum - fada over the a in both cases.

other related words are

bodhar - deaf/numb bodhaire - deafness bodhraigh - deafen, annoy, deaden bodhranai - bodhran player


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: aussiebloke
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 01:31 AM

Some history here...

Click here to go to:
http://homepages.iol.ie/~ronolan/bodhran.html

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 09:58 AM

I can remember first hearing one played at a pick-up in a small pub in Ballinskelligs (West Killarney) back in the late 60's so they've been around at least that long and more so in Ireland!

Strangely enough I made my first bodhran from an old wooden riddle or dilurn by removing the mesh and replacing it with parchment. so there is probably some truth in this theory. (saves a lot of buggering about trying to steam wood into a hoop any road!)

I favour the explanation that it originates with Irish kerns banging their pointy sticks on their shields to frighten the enemy


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 01:15 PM

Not a theory - if you look up an 18th- or 19th-century Irish-English dictionary you'll find bodhran translated as dildurn.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Mark. West Sussex
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 07:00 PM

Bodhrans developed from round trays used for carrying cut peat. Such trays can still be seen today on remote small holdings. I once asked the late Seamus Maeker why, as peat bricks are oblong cut with a standard sized peat spade, the trays were not made square or straight-sided. He looked at me with pity and then said, "Jeez you English are stupid. If the peat is staright and the tray is straight, sure there would be no room for your thumbs when you're carrying it!" Wheat and chaff were separated in raddles. All wheat grown was exported by profiteering landlords. There are no Mills in Ireland. Thus, when the potato blight struck, millions starved. The dual use of trays, spoons, bones etc. for work and leisure is a common folk thread born of abject poverty. Best Bodhrans today are made by Mog.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 07:45 PM

As I heard it, the bodhran was 'invented' during the 1960's in Leicester, England...

Then again, John Logi Baird didn't invent the television - it was a fellow called Blumlein...

Many 'inventions' are developments of someone else's ideas - James Watt's steam engine, for example.

Thread creep? Perish the thought!! But there must be something more interesting than bodhrans!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Nov 00 - 07:47 PM

BTW, Mark - who is this fellow Peat who had to be carried around?!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 11:47 AM

I have a Malachy Kearns bodhran and I like it very much.

Well, here's the position I'm going to take in a living history context. Tell me what you think: this is a bodhran, it's very very old, its exact origins are somewhat shrouded in myth and mystery. the skin-head frame drum has existed in many cultures around the world for centuries. The prevailing theory is that the bodhran started out as a sort of tray either for chaffing wheat or carrying peat, and someone got the bright idea that if they knocked on the skin head, it would make a pretty good noise. Scholars believe it was used to call people into battle, and also used during religious ceremonies. It is a relative newcomer to what we now call "Irish Traditional Music." We do not know for certain that it is or is not appropriate as musical accompaniment for this time period. [which, for me and Mister, will be 1860s or pre-1840]

I want to have an excuse to play the thing but I don't want to mislead anyone about it, and I want to have an opportunity for the audience to learn something. Any more suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 12:11 PM

Fintan Vallely, in his Handbook of Irish Traditional Music, refers to a single mid-19C. illustration where someone appears to be playing a large tambourine, using hand or stick (I'm not sure which)against the skin. This may or may not be a bodhran as we know it. As mentioned earlier, the word appears in Dineen's Irish dictionary (early 20 C.) with both drum and tray/winnow meanings. I've also seen it in P W Joyce's "English as we speak it in Ireland" . The fact that it is anglicised there (1910) suggests it was around for some time by then.

Vallely reckons its use as a drum was largely confined to the "Wren" (St. Stephen's Day celebrations) until Sean O Riada started using it in the early sixties.

Older bodhrans often had coins, pot-menders etc. inserted as rattles - and the instrument was often referred to as a tambourine. It is quite likely that some of this usage came via Salvation Army use.

Regards

p.s. I love that line about the turf-carrier.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 01:33 PM

Maybe Al Gore invented the bodhran and just hasn't owned up to it yet...


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: paddymac
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 04:02 PM

This thing called a bodhran is a typical frame drum, common to many cultures throughout the ages. In many cultures, it was/is referred to as a "Shamans' Drum". Sometimes, as in most native american cultures, it was used exclusively for ceremonial purposes. Other cultures no doubt had multiple uses for it. Being made of wood and hide, it isn't the kind of thing likely to survive long enough to be found by an archeologist. Seems like I've read that there are some depictions thought to represent frame drums in some "cave art" locales.

Interestingly, I can find no mention of the bodhran in Tomas O'Canainn's "Traditional Music in Ireland" (ISBN 0-946005-73-7), although it is included in the cover photo of instruments commonly found today in ensembles playing "traditional" Irish music.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 05:22 PM

There was an old documentary in the late nineteen seventies which propunded the theory that it came to Ireland from North Africa, as it was found on the west coast where you also find a lot of blood type groups related to the Burber coarsairs who used to find a lot of reera on the west coast of Ireland. Like Liam's brother, I first saw a Bodhran in the hands of Brian Herron, (the grand son of James Connolly - son of Nora Herron...) though I don't think he actually invented it, rather, Brian, who I still see every once and awhile, when he strays from Nova Scotia, would be the first to say, that he likely mastered it as a tool of social change - population control and mass indoctrineation.

Cheers
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Ole Bull
Date: 27 Nov 00 - 05:56 PM

With respect to the 19th century illustration mentioned above, it sounds more like a minstrel Tambo man. Beginning in 1843 the standard line-up of the minstrel band was tambourine and bones, fiddle and banjo with sometimes a triangle or accordian. The very first minstrel band toured throughout England and Scotland and they were followed by many more who inspired homegrown imitations. It was, at that time, quite the rage in the British Isles. Nearly all illustrations of that period show the tambourine being held and played almost like the bodhran is, and also being about the same size, say 14 inches or more, but no stick or beater is seen. It may have been played by the knuckles. Was the modern "traditional" Irish band inspired by mid-nineteenth century "Ethiopian" groups of the the US? Probably. Bluegrass was for sure. Its a connection that seems to have been disregarded.

http://www.mnsinc.com/sanfords/serenade.html


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 01:13 PM

The bodhran, a hand-drum called by that name and no other and made specifically to be a musical instrument, and for no other purpose, was invented in the 1930s. It derives, as others have noted, from earlier use of winnowing trays as improvised drums.

See David G. Such, "The Bodhran: The Black Sheep in the Family of Traditional Irish Musical Instruments", Galpin Society Journal, Vol. 38, page 9 (1985).


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 01:30 PM

Our guest exaggerates slightly. As I recall Such's article, it doesn't say that the bodhran (as the guest defines it) was invented in the 1930s, only that it can't be documented earlier than that.

T.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 02:03 PM

Ole Bull, that's probably because minstrel music, not being PC any longer, is overlooked as part of music history. Apparently there are those who are offended by such.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Nov 00 - 08:28 AM

Ole Bull

Sounds possible, alright. It might even tie in with the Wren association, since the latter involved disguise/costume - and frequently blackface.

So far then, we have the word itself definitely back to the end of 19C. and the drum to early 19 c. Doesn't mean, of course, that the trail started there - just that anything else is speculation.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 11:38 AM

Against my better judgement, I'm reviving this just to tell a little story. When I first visited Ireland in 1963, John Doonan, the Tyneside Irish piccolo player had just let me listen to the Sean O Riada Gael Linn LPs & I was keen to know about this mysteious drum.

He said the skin had to buried for days before being treated & stretched on the frame??. Anyway, I hward no bodhrans ub Ireland, but st
ayed at a farm B & B in Blessington the night before the ferry home.

The friendly 'woman of the house' listened to my description & went upstairs & produced a very large and dusty tambourine (bodhran size)her dad had owned.
It's been said that Sean O Riada invented the bodhran, which may or not be true, but the cultural heritage of Irish Traditional music couldn't possibly be associated with a TAMBOURINE so maybe he just took the bells off?


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Apr 21 - 12:22 PM

There are enough pre-O'Riada iconiography of the drum to contradict that. O'Riada may have brought it into the musical mainstream though. And yes, pre-O'Riada they often had bells and people acrtually called them tambourine. Fintan Vallely had some insights and sources for the name, if I recall correctly.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 05:46 AM

That seems a fair analysis Peter- what about the buryng of the goat before using the skin- did you ever hear that A pal of ours, one Finbar Pendred took a goatskin from us & tried without the burial method & used formaldehyde, but it didn't work.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 10:29 AM

The story of burying the skin (not the whole goat) used to go around during the eighties, not sure how right or true it was though. I don't know the finer detail although I'll admit to a few attempts at making a bodhran during my teens.

There is some nice footage in the RTE archive:

-wrenboys and bodhran making from 1966

-Bodhran maker Sonny Canavan from 1977

there's the wellkown Photo of Thady Casey, with bells on and another one here, both taken at the 1957 Fleadh in Miltown Malbay. There are some great recordings of Willie Clancy and Aggie Whyte playing with Thady drumming away, recorded by Seamus Ennis in 1962 for BBC, in Marty Malley's house.

The image of the wrenboys is a very wellknown pre-O'Riada one. As is this later one


There's a lot more of that stuff, lovely photos taken for the folklore commission, as it was then, and if you go deeper into the iconography, the bodhran/tambourine occurs in several 19th century images.

And the Tom Morrison/John Reynolds 78rpms are definitely pre-O'Riada.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 11:05 AM

well , he actually did all that curing stuff in my garden[ NOT THE BRYING OF THE SKIN.
i HAD TO STIR THE CONCOCTION X AMOUNT OF TIMES A DAY butI did not know the bodhran never worked., perhaps it was my fault.
Jim Bainbridge and i were neighbours at one time
It was a shame that HE didnt play the bodhran with more subtlety


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,#
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 12:46 PM

http://www.ceolas.org/instruments/bodhran/history.shtml#:~:text=The%20bodhr%C3%A1n%20is%20an%20old,common%20only%20in%20the%2019

That site reiterates a few previous remarks, but I don't think it's been posted yet.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 01:22 PM

"if you go deeper into the iconography, the bodhran/tambourine occurs in several 19th century images."

Shebeen in Listowel 1842: http://musicologie.baloney.nl/musicologie/afbeeldingen/instrumenten/shebeeninlistowel1842.jpg


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 01:52 PM

Yes, that sort of thing, there is more of that though. Note a lot of it comes from North Kerry, Listowel appears to have been at the centre of all that, though not excusively.

I don't know about the Ceolas article linked above, I'd suggest Fintan Vallely's look into all that is wort6yh pursuing, there's some of it in the 'Compendium'. I have seen him do the presentation once or twice and enjoyed that.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 02:50 PM

01:52 was mine


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 03:48 PM

I could well believe burying the skin in an acid peatbog would help cure it.

My brother used to shoot feral goats in New Zealand. He made me a waistcoat out of one once. It looked impressively palaeolithic. But over a year I got increasngly bothered by a weird smell in my room. Tracked it down to the waistcoat going violently rancid at the back of a stack of clothes.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 21 - 05:07 PM

acoording to finbar pendred, it had to be stirred every day, that was over 27 years ago, so the finer details escape me but i think paraffin can also be used


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 05:08 AM

Formaldehyde was involved- I remember Finbar searching for it in chemists, ag.suppliers etc. He was an OK bodhran player*, if perhaps a bit enthusiastic (read LOUD) - his rhythm was fine, as I recall.

By the way, the burying tale was told to me by John Doonan in 1963-

* if you like that sort of thing


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 05:43 AM

Peter's Listowel image:

blickified

The tambourine is bodhran-sized but has jingles. A bit like an Egyptian mazhar, and the drummer is beating it the same way (no subtle stuff, just bang in the middle for a basic beat). And the flute player is wearing a regimental cap.

It seems to have been a regular thing in Scotland a bit earlier for a fiddler to be accompanied by his wife on the tambourine.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 06:13 AM

yes jim, he was ok, but as you say a bit loud sometimes and he was great craic


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 07:24 AM

but better playing the bodhran than building, i remember he said to me thers a way of getting it square , its numbers[ i knew hew was on about pythagoras theorem 3 4 5, but i let him continue, its 2 4 3 he said, at that point my impression that he was a bhullshitter was confirmed, i had visions that all these houses he claimed to have built in ireland were all out of square


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 09:20 AM

He did a decent job of our conservatory anyway, I think you were in it? whether it was square I couldn't say, but he showed mw a few tricks even if he wrecked my wee trailer axle by putting too much sand in it


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 21 - 10:10 AM

aye and he fecked up the electrics of the people, i think they were german who bought your house at the bottom of coomfarna,and left it in a mess his name was mud with them,he worked very hard was very strong but was a labourer not a craftsman ,but he was ok on the bodhran.


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Mudcat time: 17 May 5:52 AM EDT

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