There are some good books and instructional tapes available. I'm sure there are more than I have listed here; do you know any others?
Andy writes The playing technique is shown in a clear, step-by-step way. Primary rhythm of rell and jig times are covered along with many of their variations. Also included are damping, two-on-three rhythm, and numerous tips for advanced playing.
Hannigan invites people to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gregory Carr of Read Ireland describes it Complete pack with
illustrated 32 page booklet, crammed with features, diagrams and
examples. Demo cassette included, playing all the techniques
discussed in the book, plus traditional tunes to play along with.
Also available from Read
Ireland, for 8 punt (about US $14).
There is an accompanying sound recording, published by RTE in Ireland.
Robert Kirkland wrote this brief review: The story takes place in western Ireland in early to mid 1950s and deals with life in a small village and the rural inhabitants. The local canon is the central antagonist. He is an austere man who forbids the wren dance. The local wren boys attempt to have the dance is secret but the old canon catches on. There may not be a great deal of action in the novel but it presents a marvelous picture of the people. The characters seem very genuine and believable to me and it is not hard to get caught up in their trials and tribulations. Inherent to the story is the bodhrán. The author continualy alludes to it and sets it as the major intrument of the wren dance. In fact, it becomes a symbol for the heartbeat of the impoverished rural farmers. Once section of the novel deals with the rural patriarch of the wren boys and his method of making a very special bodhrán. ... Although not a technical nor an instructional book, I would recommend [this] novel ... It offers some insight into the history and culture of the bodhrán and is at the same time a fine story."
Lynn Hughes reviewed it for me. She called it A charming little book... Anecdotal, not a tutor, but a collection of rambling and humorous reminiscences of interest to anyone who plays or who is connected with Irish music. He describes the difficulty of obtaining suitable goat skins, speaks of donkey-hide bodhráns as harsh sounding and says that the one or two that he has made of sealskin sound "eerie."
'.....and what is that drum thing? This book goes some way towards answering the question; but the history of the bodhrán is very obscure. Ms Crickard has gathered together scattered fragments and included all speculations - whether reasoned or reckless - which are most commonly offered to account for the drums existence. She is neither Irish, nor a musician, nor a musicologist, this book necessarily reflects this perspective.'
Beautifully hand calligraphed and illustrated, covering the bodhrán's basis as a skin tray, various tales, relationship to other frame drums, making and playing, plus a useful list of books, makers, and suggested recordings.
Andy's catalogue is equally effusive: Here is the most musical method on the bodhrán and bones. This video includes essential dance forms and rhythmic patterns, traditional and innovative techniques, plus an in-depth demonstration of the "roll" stroke.
Robin Smith posted an article to rec.music.celtic on 25 Mar 95 in which he offered his book by direct order for $10, and announced that he is producing a follow-up video which will be available from him for $25. He wrote:
All prices are postpaid... mention Internet and get a free cassette of my famous power bodhran solos!!! My new approach techniques make bodhrán playing easier to learn and more fun to do. Learn to please, not tease, the audience! Be heard in good form! I want to help you be the best drummer around...no more drummer jokes! We are in control... with Power Bodhrán Techniques!
The book is also available through Mid-East Mfg. and Distant Caravansfor $8.
The publisher's address is 2/5 N. Frederick St., Dublin 1. Tel 747805. Also available from Buck Musical Instruments, Andy's Front Hall, and Lark in the Morning.
A good book for a beginner learning the basic techniques of the bodhrán. It starts with a short history of the bodhrán, moves into a description of basic methods, with pictures and lessons, and then discusses alternate methods and modern techniques. O Súilleabháin is a professor of Irish music and a pianist and composer of great note.
Books, tapes, and videos on other kinds of percussion can be found on the Middle Eastern percussion page lists of books, recordings, and videos; and in the list of method books and the bibliography of percussion on the the Drum and Percussion Page.
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Last updated 19 Jan 2000