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Raglan Road to Calgary - The History

I took my first trip to Ireland in 1996 with the purpose of learning about the bodhron and hopefully to learn how to pronounce it properly. I returned to Calgary with a keen sense of how little I knew about the instrument and also found that it seemed to be pronounced a little differently in each village, city and pub. What I did return with was a tremendous interest and desire to build bodhrons.

By the time I took my first trip to Ireland I had already made my first drum. The skin is Canadian beaver obtained from a controlled cull of an over populated area and is featured on the CD photo. I did learn in Ireland the very special bodhrons had goat skins that had been hand cured and conditioned. It was then that I realized that in order to build quality instruments I would need to learn to cure and condition my own skins. My goat skins come from a very active meat industry in Calgary.

In the late 1990's traditional session music began an awakening in Calgary and for many, of a certain age, it was a second awakening. It was the Traditional Sessions at the James Joyce where I began to develop a love for the music. Chris Daniels and the Clan Terra musicians acted as hosts in those early years providing a solid musical platform for learning the bodhon.

From those early beginnings I began to develop the Davey Drums and over the years the designs have certainly stretched the goat. It went from the traditional round "Coracle" to the egg shaped "Currach", the guitar shaped "Hooker", the tear drop shaped "Plassy" and the latest shape, the oval "Claddagh. These terms are of nautical origin from the Galway Bay area in celebration of the bodhron summer school named Craiceann held each year on the Aran Island of Inis Oirr. I have been fortunate to be able to attend two of the summer schools and base much of my drum building on what I have learned from bodhron players at the school.