While our Videos page focusses on product demos and professional performances, this Tutorials page is about learning – learning about the bodhrán and learning to play the bodhrán.
Maybe you are wondering what on earth is a bodhrán, or want to know more about how to play the bodhrán before you buy or upgrade from your old one, maybe you are ready to explore different styles of playing or hear our drums in direct comparison with a traditional wood and skin bodhrán… we have something for you here, and will be building this collection as we identify more resources we think offer something special.
Cormac Byrne: Live Workshop
Early in the development of the BOD drum John Blackwell contacted professional drummer Cormac Byrne to get his feedback on the design. The rest is history – we now produce not only our own BOD Drums but Cormac’s signature Talking Bodhrán, which features in many of his world music and other performances (listen to the fabulous UTSAV performances on our Videos page).
Cormac recently conducted a live workshop on Facebook, taking questions from his audience as he was playing and demonstrating his bodhrán techniques. The video is now archived for repeat viewing, and is great fun.
Cormac starts from utter basics like how to hold the drum and the beater in the traditional fashion, but also discusses and demonstrates some of his trademark techniques. He talks about the BOD Sound Bar which we make for him, as well as how he uses his hand on the back of the skin to create all kinds of sound effects. Cormac demonstrates the various drums he uses (16 and 18 inch Christian Hedwitschaks and the Talking Bodhrán) and what each drum does best, and switches between them throughout the video, so you can really hear the differences. Finally, he talks about the Bodhrod beaters which Stevie Moises produces for him, and demonstrates the different sound effects you can create with a Bodhrod (you can see the Bodhrods on our Beaters page).
Cormac’s tutorial video is here on Facebook, no login necessary to view it.
Colin Harte: Bodhrán Experimentation & Innovation
Colin Harte is an ethnomusicologist with a particular interest in Irish traditional music and the bodhrán. In his recently published book, The Bodhrán: Experimentation, Innovation, and the Traditional Irish Frame Drum, Colin explores the history of the bodhrán and particularly the way in which both drum making and performance practices have evolved to work within a wide range of modern music contexts, both traditional and wildly un-traditional.
The following video is essentially a lecture which draws from the book’s content. Colin mentions the collaboration between John Blackwell and Cormac Byrne which resulted in the Talking Bodhrán (around 59 minutes into the video). The video concludes with a recital in which Colin plays his BOD drum both as part of a traditional Irish folk music ensemble, and in a rather untraditional sounding bodhrán solo.
The performance segment is really interesting because you can see Colin’s left hand quite clearly through the skin of the drum, and how he is working the strike of the tipper versus the position of his hand on the back of the drum to create different effects. In his drum solo sequence he uses a traditional snare drum brush as well as a BOD beater to create some wonderfully contrasting effects. Enjoy!
John Blackwell Bodhrán Tutorials
John is creating a series of tutorials over on our Blog, which coach you through a series of progressively more complex reel and jig rythms. Great for beginners but also suitable for experienced players looking to vary their repertoire, each tutorial provides a demonstration sound track of the beat, a downloadable stroke sheet for reference, and concludes with a video of a melody which you can play along with to practice your new skills.
This is an ongoing series, you might want to subscribe to our blog (see right margin) to be notified when new tutorials and other BODdrum news is posted.