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The Raglan Road to Calgary

I took my first trip to Ireland in 1996 with the purpose of learning about the bodhráns 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 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 bodhráns.

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 overpopulated area and is featured on the CD photo. I did learn in Ireland the very special bodhráns 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 bodhran.

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 bodhráns 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 bodhráns players at the school.


I wish to thank the Jaki and Chris Daniels family and indeed their extended family of musical friends for providing the opportunity for this project to take place. There is an atmosphere of serenity that always seems to surround the Daniels' home and recording studio. All one has to do is experience only one bowl of soup in the kitchen and you realize that you are indeed in a very special home.

I also wish to thank the bands and musical groups that have provided me the opportunity to add the bodhran to their tunes. In particular I wish to thank the Sunday Nite Band for over 30 years of companionship and wonderful musical experiences. The rehearsals held each Sunday evening terminated with "treats" and lots of "jocularity" in the kitchen of Jim and Mary Lou Dauncey.

The second group I wish to mention is the Joyce on Fourth Session Players. It is through the Saturday afternoon and Tuesday evening sessions that I can keep the bodhran grounded in its musical roots. The musicians featured on this CD are, Jonathon Daniels (guitar), Allison Lynch (vocals), Ann Gray (Scottish small pipes), Barbara Rose Olorenshaw (fiddle), Katie McAllister (vocals), Lesley Jefferson (fiddle), Fiona Coll (fiddle), Greg Hooper (whistle and flute), Scott Duncan (fiddle). There is a cameo performance on one passage by Chris Daniels on the bodhran.
© 2020 David W. Settles Contact Me