I have been playing the flute since just before I turned twelve; that is, more years than I care to count. It wasn't my first instrument, piano, guitar, and violin (surprisingly) take those honors, but it is the one that I got to know the best, and at which I became most proficient. I have public school music programs, which favor "band" instruments, and college "band", now known as "wind orchestra", to thank for some of that. After college, I played in church, for community theater, and in a community orchestra, trying to keep my music alive.
But at the same time, I was discovering folk music. The 1992 Telluride Bluegrass Festival was a major turning point for me; I fell in love with bluegrass and roots music. I was inspired to learn the mandolin, and rediscover the guitar. But my flute, which I knew so well, was somehow foreign to all of that. It was not welcome at "bluegrass" jams. I had to find a way to work it in to the music that was now a part of me. It was then that I happened to purchase a copy of "The Fiddler's Fake Book".
It's not a fake book, it's a real book filled with really good roots music, intended to give primarily fiddle players a resource for learning the rich tradition of tunes that can be described as "fiddle music". I, having abandoned my violin/fiddle long ago to pursue the flute, used it as a resource for mandolin tunes. Then, I happened to discover something. There were some Irish tunes in there, and they were really fun to play on my flute. I became proficient at a few of them, just playing by myself. I thought it would be really fun to play this stuff with others some day. I listened to Altan, The Bothy Band, Matt Molloy, The Chieftains, and The Gaels, thinking "wow. this is FUN!"
Today I finally bared my Irish soul to another and shared the sound that had previously just served to annoy my cats. I played some Irish tunes on my flute, with Fred on mandolin, and it sounded really good. Incredibly fun as a matter of fact, so fun that we are playing some of them tomorrow at our now-somewhat-regular gig at the Hanging Horn. We have gotten to be rather eclectic; we do everything from Bill Monroe to Greg Brown to Townes Van Zandt to Kate Wolf to John Prine to old fiddle and Irish tunes. With a little practice we are ten times better than our original recording of "Early" that I shared. And I'm having a heck of a good time doing it.