Thursday 4 December 2008

A bodhrán is not just for Christmas....

A great gift for christmas, is the auld Bodhrán. It ticks so many boxes; it's an actual instrument, it is a unique part of Irish traditional music, it's beautiful, it can be decorative or functional and if you give one to the right person, it can drive everyone in their house insane on Christmas day (we obviously don't encourage that kind of thing, you understand, but if you should happen to...)
Sean O'Riada reputedly said the best way to play a Bodhrán was with a knife; but he obviously had never indulged in the glorious creations of Michael Vignoles, Paul McAuley, Paraic McNeela, and others.
Nor is it an expensive item! For something that gives hours of amusement and opens up a world of music and playing to people they are extremely affordable. A handmade 12" with bag and beater consts €30, 16" with bag and beater €45 - the same in 18" with bag and beater costs €50.
More professional level bodhráns start at €60 for an 18" (again with cover and beater) and there are lovely 14". 16" and 18" from €85 - €90.
A new aspect of the Bodhrán in the last 30 years has been the Tunable Bodhrán - in the last ten years they have gone from large, overweight rather awkward beings to deep-toned, beautifully finished, resonant and easy to use creations. Usually available from €130 apx, they come in a wide variety of depth, size and tone.
DVDs and books abound, everything you need to get started; and the true beauty of the bodhrán is that it gives as much pleasure to the solitary musician as to the extrovert performer. As a stress buster, it can hardly be bettered - just let the rhythm take over......

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