|My bodhráns are all very special to me. I have had the great
fortune of meeting and befriending some of the best craftsmen in the
world over the past 20 years.
bodhrán I am seen playing most often (and my favorite) is
a fine instrument made for me by my good friend, Albert Alfonso. It
is made of a 14” birch-ply shell, and the goatskin head is one of Albert's
finest. The brass tuning ring is probably most responsible for its
clear, deep sound. The color is Albert's signature deep red. I also
own a wonderful 12” drum with a natural finish (that I had to beg Albert
to let me have!). I have owned many of his drums over the years. They
are my drums of preference.
Two other fine makers have crafted drums for me as well. Eammon McGuire
of Belfast, Northern Ireland made a very special 19” drum for me on the
occasion the birth of my first son, Colin Michael. Rob Forkner of Austin,
Texas has been especially kind to me and made three drums of kangaroo
skin, one 14” (with
a black finish) and two 12” (one with an electric blue finish, and
the other a mahogany stain). I like to play these drums acoustically
when sitting around the house or in a quiet session. Both of these gentlemen
are two of the kindest people I've ever met.
||Lastly, two of my prized drums are my two 17.5”
bodhráns made by the great Charlie Byrne of Thurles, Co. Tipperary. (Charlie's
daughter, Carmel Byrne was quite respected as a bodhrán player
in the 1960s and 70s.) The first of the Byrne drums I have was given
to me by one of my best friends, Cliff Moses. I treasure it and don't
bring it out much. The second is a dark brown drum made from Belgian
goat. The brown hair has not been removed and matches the deep color
of the chocolate pinewood shell. It has a wonderfully soft, subtle sound.