Enda Seery: Magic in the Tin Whistle (Interview)

Traditional Irish Musician on Whistle/Flute/Keyboard from the heart of Ireland talks to CMF!

Passion affects people around you. When you love what you do, everyone will feel it. This awareness creates enthusiasm. And therefore in your own way, you affect the universe. It’s like magic: The ability to make people  hope..and even  dream…

There are artists who make you feel a certain way about how they play music. You don’t even have to understand what the music is about to appreciate it. Sometimes there are tunes that don’t need words to express that feeling. You just listen  and then you connect. Just like that. This transcends  everything. Today, a musician is going to make that example.

Enda Seery from Streamstown, Co. Westmeath, Ireland sets the standard for the tin whistle. His  album The Winding Clock (Traditional, Folk, Celtic)has 13 tracks that will serenade your ears with wistful and cheerful tunes. The sound of this instrument has never been sweeter or softer. When not involved with music, he is teaching Irish language . This passion in preserving  tradition  is reflected in his style of playing. His original compositions made there way, along with the traditional tunes in The Winding Clock. Between gigs and and working on a second album, I was able to squeeze the time for him to be our guest!

Hi Enda, you have been getting a lot of positive reviews regarding your playing style. I can tell that you are an instrumentalist who gives more emphasis on the beauty of playing rather than the speed . There is richness and grace in every note. How long did it take you to perfect this style of playing?

Thanks a lot for your kind comments. In my opinion too many trad players today try to place too much emphasis on speed rather than respecting the tune(s) they are playing. I like to keep the tune pure. Just last week at a show I noticed some young players trying to do too much with a tune, basically trying to be too fancy. Tradition shouldn’t be tampered with! I have perfected my style over a number of years by listening to all types of players, not just Whistlers. I always try to play for a few hours a day to keep perfecting my style and repertoire of tunes.

You play traditional tunes and you also compose. What are the challenges you undertake doing both?

To be honest I don’t see it as a challenge. Composing is something that I take for granted now. I love to mix and match old traditional tunes with my own compositions. I make sure though to keep my compositions in the traditional idiom. I was delighted to hear some reviewers and experts alike say that my compositions on ‘The Winding Clock’ album integrated well with the other traditional tunes.

‘The Winding Clock’ has received positive reviews. You are also recording your second album “High and Low”. What will listeners expect to hear in this second album?

I suppose the dreaded second album can be tricky after the first but I had a lot of material, especially new compositions left over after the recording of ‘The Winding Clock’. I am going to take my time recording the second album ‘High and Low'(a reference to my use of high and low Whistles). I am about to start a Masters in Trad Music Performance at the Irish World Academy, University Limerick so I won’t have a lot of time for recording. Listeners though can expect to hear a lot of new compositions between reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, airs and instrumentals. I am also going to record a few tracks on the Trad Flute and Low Whistle.

 You will play whistles, low whistle, flute and keyboards in this new album. Are there other musicians you will be working in this project?

Yes, John Byrne will again hopefully work with me on this album. Myself and John have started to do a number of gigs and performances as a duo recently. He is a gifted Guitar player as well as a talented Banjo player. I will provide a lot more Keyboard backing on this album too. I will be recording again at Black Rose Studio, Kilcock, Co. Kildare with Rob Laird as Sound Engineer. There might one or two other guest musicians in the pipeline too.

Tell us about your involvement in Comhaltas ‘Seisiun’ show .

The Comhaltas run ‘Seisiun’ show is a series of shows that runs throughout July and August in venues all over Ireland. This year I am playing but also producing in the show at Aras an Mhuilinn, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. I would hope that I have put my own personality on the show in Mullingar. I have added in Sean Nos Dancing and and new compositions to the show. Producing and arranging is something that I would like to do a lot more of in the future. I am lucky to be working with some great people in the resident group of Aras an Mhuilinn: ‘Ceoltoiri an Mhuilinn’. Audience attendances have been good so far. Aras an Mhuilinn is a beautiful venue in a prime location in Mullingar, a venue that is there to be used by Comhaltas branches of Counties Westmeath, Offaly, Laois and Longford.

 So what are the plans you have later this year musically

I’m starting a Masters in Trad Music Performance at the Irish World Academy of Music Limerick in September. Really looking forward to working with some fantastic people there. I hope to fit in a few recording sessions for the High and Low album too at Black Rose Studio. Also I am due to play on the main stage with a number of my friends at the new Green Village Festival at Castletown Geoghegan Co Westmeath on Sat September 24th.

 What are the best traditional albums you’d recommend to our readers?

Danny O Mahony’s new album ‘In Retrospect’. Liz Carroll and John Doyle ‘Double Play’. Steph Geremia ‘Open Road’ and of course ‘The Winding Clock’!

And lastly: what’s your message to our readers?

Traditional Irish Music has never been stronger so get out and buy or download the music. The music is part of what makes us Irish. It can raise the spirits of a nation. Finally for whistle players remember that it can become your main instrument and as we say in Irish cleachtadh a dhéanann máistreacht!(practice makes perfect).

Well said Enda!

Get your copies of The Winding Clock here

Additional info:  ‘The Winding Clock’ was released in November 2010. Recorded at Black Rose Studio, Kilcock, Co. Kildare. Accompanient on album provided by John Byrne on Guitar from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath and Colin Hogg on Bodhran from Castletown Geoghegan, Co. Westmeath. Ciarán Seery(Button Accordion), Siobhán Seery(Flute) and Pádraig Seery(Fiddle) all from Streamstown also feature on the album.





2 Replies to “Enda Seery: Magic in the Tin Whistle (Interview)”

  1. Bax,
    What an interesting interview! I think he is right about the traditional music in Ireland being vey strong. When I was there in April we had little difficulty finding it especially in the pubs. I really enjoyed it there.

    I am definitely going to check out his CD too. I agree on how the speed seems to be the way so many of the young show off their talents. That was not the thing with the Chieftains and I love a piece simply well played. You certainly can’t dance if the music is too fast either!! 😉


  2. Well said Christi. I agree. Playing is not just about skill. It is also about feeling. I think Enda has a style that is nowadays lacking in traditional players and I hope his music will bring that interest back. It was fun working with him on this interview because he is really down to earth and fun to talk to.


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