Traditional music and folklore are inspiration for special city concertMarch 3, 2011 - 8:00am
Dave Flynn is one of the few people in Irish music who is equally at home performing in a traditional session, a jazz session or in a classical concert.
The Dublin born, Spiddal based composer and musician who learned his traditional music at workshops during festivals around the country, trained as a classical guitarist under the renowned John Feeney and went on to do a degree in music in UCD.
Dave’s first instrument as a child was tin whistle. Then he had piano lessons but he didn’t take to that. When he started guitar, though, he felt had found his instrument.
As a teenager he dropped everything for heavy metal, but he points out that heavy metal draws influences from classical and folk music and it was through this that his interest in classical and trad began to develop.
He studied rock music at Ballyfermot College before continuing with a degree in music in the DIT Conservatory of Music and then a Masters Degree in composition at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He recently completed a PhD thesis, entitled a Traditional Irish Music: A Path to New Music, under Galway composer, Jane O’Leary. It’s not a bad achievement for a man who never intended studying music.
Dave lived in London while studying for his Masters there and then moved back to Ireland. Wanting to live rurally, preferably in the West, he went scouting for a home. On his first visit to Spiddal, he found what he was looking for and has settled there happily, playing regularly at the sessions in Hughes Pub and making an impact on Galway’s trad and classical scene as well as on the bigger stage.
Dave has written music for Galway’s Ensemble in Residence, ConTempo and is now guest resident musician with the classical quartet.
He will join forces with them for a concert in the city on March 12, which will also feature two of Ireland's finest traditional musicians, uilleann piper Mick O’Brien and Kerryman singer and accordion player Breanndán Begley.
The concert which will be performed at St Nicholas’s Collegiate Church in Galway City on Saturday, March 12, consists of three pieces where Dave brings classical influence to bear on the Irish tradition. But, he says, all the compositions are his own.
“Personally I don’t use any old trad tunes. Things might sound trad but it’s all original.”
The first of the three pieces is the award-winning score, The Cranning, which he wrote some years ago.
Cranning refers to an ornamentation technique of the uilleann pipes, and the piece also draws heavily on the influence of Donegal fiddle playing.
“I bring different techniques such as fiddling techniques and piping techniques into the string quartet. In one piece the quartet sounds like an uilleann pipe,” explains Dave.
The uilleann pipes have a very specific sound, not normally found in classical music, but ConTempo have made a great job of capturing it, he says.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.