September 5, 2011

Dave Flynn News Update

This September is a busy one for Dave, it includes performances of his music by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Dave performing at the Clonakilty Guitar Festival and in Estonia!

Irish Tour with Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and the Irish Chamber Orchestra

Following the great success of Dave’s collaboration with Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at a packed National Concert Hall last November, Dave, Martin and Dennis are collaborating again, this time with the internationally renowned Irish Chamber Orchestra.

This is a special 5 date ICO tour of Ireland which promises to be really special. Concerts take place in University Concert Hall, Limerick (8th), Dublin’s RDS (10th), Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim (15th), Clifden Arts Week (16th) and Sligo Model Arts Centre (17th).

Dave’s suite for fiddle, violin, guitar and string orchestra ‘Music for the Departed’, described by the Irish Examiner USA as ‘a magnificent new work’, is the main piece in the programme. The programme also features a new collaborative arrangement between Martin, Dennis and Dave called ‘An Irish Farrago – From O’Carolan to Ó Ríada’. For this piece Dave has orchestrated a suite of traditional Irish tunes as arranged by Hayes and Cahill. The arrangement was commissioned by the Irish Chamber Orchestra through the Arts Council of Ireland’s Traditional Arts Commission Awards.

Full details of the tour can be found on the Irish Chamber Orchestra website

Clonakilty Guitar Festival 17th September

Dave will be performing at the Clonakilty Guitar Festival in Cork with the Cosmopolitan Guitar Quartet which he recently co-founded with the great guitarists Hugh Buckley, John Feeley and Niwel Tsumbu.

The Cosmopolitan Guitar Quartet is a unique new group which brings together classical, folk, jazz and African guitar styles in a fascinating new synthesis. The group made its very well received debut in April at the Inishowen Guitar Festival in Donegal.

Their latest performance takes place on 17th September at the Parish Hall in Clonakilty during the fantastic Clonakilty Guitar Festival.

Please visit for more info.

Trip to Estonia

Between 23rd and 25th September Dave will be visiting his friends Janne and Jusse Suits in Estonia where he will be performing and giving workshops alongside the flautist Eileen Hassett, dancer and banjo player Fidelma O’Brien and the internationally renowned Uilleann Piper Mick O’Brien.

They will give performances and workshops in Viljandi at the Estonian Traditional Music Center and at the Academy of Music there. They will also perform a pub session in Parnu.

Please visit for more info.

These events are made possible thanks to the generous support of Culture Ireland and the Embassy of Ireland in Estonia.

Masters of Tradition Festival Success

Speaking of Mick O’Brien, we’re pleased to report that Mick played a huge part in the great success of a special concert of Dave’s music at West Cork Music’s Masters of Tradition Festival in Bantry, Co. Cork on 11th August.

The concert showcased the world premieres of five new compositions that Dave composed especially for traditional Irish musicians.

Mick’s super-talented fiddle playing daughter Aoife O’Brien also performed alongside the brilliant multi-instrumentalist Harry Bradley and the innovative, enigmatic fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

The concert was very warmly received with a standing ovation at the end from the large audience at St. Brendan’s Church.

Paul Keating of the US newspaper the Irish Voice was in attendance and he had some very kind words to say about the concert.

‘‘I arrived on the Thursday in time to see a world premiere of new music composed by David Flynn, a multi-faceted guitar player and composer born in Dublin whose crossover work in classical and traditional genres would seem a natural fit for this festival.

Under a DEIS-funded scheme to create new music granted in 2008, Flynn worked to brilliant effect with piper O’Brien and his daughter Aoife (fiddle), Belfast flute player Harry Bradley and Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh bringing Flynn’s compositions to life.

The music performed gave a cutting edge quality that also proved challenging to the musicians and entertaining to the audience who responded to their efforts with a standing ovation at its conclusion.

As Hayes told me a few days later, “Sometimes you simply have to trust a composer like David Flynn and the artists he created the music for, and also the audience too because you can’t control everything. I was very pleased with the results.”

Many thanks to Paul for that great review, to Martin Hayes for programming the concert, all at West Cork Music for organising such a great festival, the Arts Council of Ireland’s Deis Scheme and Galway County Council for supporting the composition work, the great audience for being so open minded and appreciative to the new music and most of all thanks to Aoife, Caoimhín, Harry and Mick for dedicating so much time to learning the music and for performing so brilliantly!

Hopefully more festivals and promoters will programme the music in the future and who knows, a recording could be on the cards.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Dave and Eileen Hassett recently returned from giving their debut performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They really enjoyed performing at St. Mark’s Artspace and the Acoustic Music Center and particularly enjoyed performing with the great classical flautist Aisling Agnew and Elsa Jean McTaggart.

They also took in some great shows at the Fringe including an incredible concert by Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. At 91 the great sitar master is an inspiration to us all, he even inspired Dave to compose a new work, entitled An Irish Raga, especially for his Fringe Festival performances.

Dave also enjoyed attending a great concert by US supergroup The National and a stunning morning raga recital by the master of the Indian sarod Amjan Ali Khan.

That’s it for this news update. Hope to see you at one of Dave’s September 2011 events.


Back in January 2009 when President Obama was being inaugurated I was in New York City where I was interviewed for a special programme on WNYC Radio by the great New Music broadcaster and advocate John Schaefer.

The show was first broadcast on St. Patrick’s Day March 17th 2009 and rebroadcast recently this past April.

You can listen to it here.

Classical Guitar Magazine is the world’s foremost magazine related to classical guitar. I’m humbled and delighted to report that ‘Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar’ has crossed the boundaries by receiving a great review from Paul Fowles to go with the excellent reviews in the folk music publications Sing Out! and Irish Music Magazine.

‘In an era dominated by fret-burning virtuosity, gently persuasive releases such as this are a rare and precious resource. Performing on nylon strings and using fiddle-based open string tunings, Dave Flynn, a John Feeley student and erstwhile member of the Dublin Guitar Quartet, presents his own refreshingly uncluttered settings of airs and reels from his native Ireland. The apparent contradiction in the main title, as Flynn explains in his notes, stems from the fact that, although the material mostly dates from the second half of the 20th century, the language is that of a long-standing folk tradition.

Drawing primarily on the reels of Paddy Fahey (b.1926), Flynn also fields his own Mahatma of the Glen alongside one-off contributions from Tommy Peoples, Ed Reavy, Liz Carroll, Larry Redican and Charlie Lennon. Thematic development is not high on the agenda, Flynn’s strategy being essentially to set up an idea and then let it ride until it’s time to move on. The effect is hypnotic, any urge to know what’s going to happen next soon being extinguished by the subtle allure of what’s happening now. As anyone who’s visited the Irish Republic will surely confirm, it’s precisely this lack of urgency that gives the areas outside the main cities so much of their charm. The cover shot of a shimmering lake and its distant green hinterland sums up the prevailing mood better than words ever could.

A significant niche release and one of the most effective chill-out discs ever to come my way.

Paul Fowles

Classical Guitar Magazine August 2010

Those nice folks at Sing Out! magazine have just published another great review of ‘Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar’. Thanks to Tom Druckenmiller for his great taste in music! Sing Out! is a great american publication dealing exclusively with folk and roots music, check out their website
‘This is a collection of traditional and contemporary Irish tunes played on the nylon-strung guitar. The premise was to record only tunes which were written in the past 50 years. I guess this disqualifies them as traditional tunes in the strictest sense, but why quibble with music this beautiful. There is little information about Dave Flynn on the CD insert, but by simply listening to his light and sensitive touch, it becomes clear that he is a very fine player who has thorough understanding of the subtle nuances  of Irish fiddle tunes. He states that he uses the various alternate tunings, achieving a bright and percussive sound with the use of a capo. A majority of the tunes were written by Paddy Fahey. Dave used a master’s thesis on Fahey’s music as a source along with recordings by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill and Kevin and Seamus Glackin, among others, for the other selections. The CD opens with “Paddy Fahey’s Reels No. 20 & 6.” It would be easy to typecast this music as “new age” upon casual listening, but Dave has a subtle pulse and grace with his right hand, and the resultant arrangement is very lovely. “The Kinnycally Jig,” from Tommy Peoples, follows with its rich chord melody and deliberate tempo. The melody is played over an insistent bass ostinato. Dave also includes one of his own pieces. The keystone of the recording is “The Mahatma of the Glen,” three movements – slow air, slide and slip-slide – from an extended seven-section piece called “Music for the Departed,” written for Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and Ioana Petcu-Colan. With occasional dissonance in the slow air, it is less traditional in sound than the other compositions on the CD. Dave Flynn is a masterful guitarist. If your Celtic music taste is more contemporary, this CD will be a wonderful listening experience.’ — Tom Druckenmiller

Twitter and Facebook

June 16, 2010

Just a quick note to let you know Dave Flynn now has a Twitter page and a Facebook Page

You can follow Dave on Twitter here

and you can like Dave’s Facebook page here!/pages/Dave-Flynn/145908241600

I’ve had a busy past month and lots of exciting things are happening. Here’s a quick run down of them all.

Secret Festival in Sweden

I’ve been invited to the Secret Music Festival on the island of Öland in Sweden at the end of June where I will spend a week collaborating and performng with musicians from Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Australia and Estonia. We will spend the first three days working together on a new collaborative composition which we will then perform in four concerts throughout the Island of Öland.

The musicians joining me will be Vyvienne Long and John Leo Carter from Ireland, Maria Rylander and Klas Ehnemark from Sweden, Nasrine Rahmani from Spain/Australia, Diego Guerrero from Spain and Juhan and Janne Suits from Estonia.

Further details of the festival can be found at this website

I’m really looking forward to working with all these great musicians

Africa Day performance and workshop with Niwel Tsumbu and Cion O’Callaghan

I’m delighted to be performing with the great Congolese guitarist, singer and composer Niwel Tsumbu and my good friend the percussionist Cion O’Callaghan at the Africa Day event at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin this Sunday 16th May at 1.30 pm. We’ll be performing a 30 minute set of African influenced music with a bit of Irish music thrown in for good measure! Niwel and I will also be giving a workshop on African Guitar Styles in the Music Tent at 3.45.

see for more details

Arts Council of Ireland Bursary

Yesterday I received a letter from the Arts Council of Ireland informing me that I’ve been awarded a bursary from them to allow me to buy the time to concentrate on some new composition work for the rest of 2010. This work will include some new music for Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill to perform with orchestra. I’m excited to be embarking on this project with them. Speaking of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill…..

US Premiere of ‘Music for the Departed’ in New York

Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Gregory Harrington & Dave Flynn at the Irish Arts Center, New York

I recently returned from New York where Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and Gregory Harrington gave the US Premiere of my piece ‘Music for the Departed’ at three sold out performances in the Irish Arts Center. I’d a great time over there and wasn’t too disappointed that the Icelandic volcano ash kept me there for a few extra days! I’m grateful to the Irish Arts Center and Culture Ireland for their assistance in providing me with a travel grant to cover my travel expenses.

Another great review for Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar

My album ‘Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar’ recently received another great review. This time in Irish Music Magazine. Many thanks to Edel McLaughlin for taking the time to write such a lovely review!


Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar
FRCD002, Frisbee records
15 tracks

This recording is quite striking and unique for a number of reasons. Firstly, Dave Flynn has made a full album comprising of melodic dance music played exclusively on nylon string guitar. Although the guitar is an instrument not normally associated with playing Irish dance music, Dave breathes new life into the music with a lovely melodic lilt and lift to each tune that has been carefully selected to feature on this recording. It is not your typical guitar album; the dexterity of finger movement and sheer delight in playing these melodies is quite apparent from start to finish on this album. He has made carved a niche to represent his own distinctive and personal style that shines through in many ways on this album. In the sleeve notes, Dave notes the paradox in the album’s title; however, this collection features many tunes that were composed relatively recently yet are known and played worldwide as part of the traditional music canon. Most of the music performed stems from the pen of Paddy Fahey – “a magical fiddle player and composer who is, to me and many others, one of the finest composers Ireland has ever produced.”

The album is worth the purchase alone for the pleasure of hearing so many Fahey tunes in one setting. Also, other notable composers’ tunes are included including those of Cavan-born Ed Reavy, Donegal master Tommy Peoples, Leitrim’s legend Charlie Lennon, and the great Irish-American fiddler Larry Redican. As Dave notes so importantly, “It is a special skill to be able to compose tunes that sound new, whilst still fitting seamlessly into the tradition.” Interestingly, all of the compositions on the album were originally fiddle tunes and so, Dave has fittingly tried to translate the fiddle style in terms of rhythm and phrasing onto his guitar by matching it to the tuning of the fiddle. It’s quite a pleasure to hear many of these tunes heard in different keys to the originals due to the use of a capo to create a brighter overall sound, as it gives the listener a fresh insight into these wonderful, melodic melodies. There are some lyrical introductions also to tunes that lure the listener into the tune – listen to track 7, for example. Finally, it’s beautiful to see hear “The Mahatma of the Glen” on this recording – a recent original composition, dedicated to a master Donegal fiddler, the late James Byrne who also made such a remarkable contribution to the world of Irish Music. To conclude, this is a must for anyone who enjoys contemporary traditional music at its best.
Edel McLaughlin

Review from

April 26, 2010

Just received the first main review for ‘Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar’ and it is a very positive review from the guitar specialist website

When I received Dave Flynn’s recent disc entitled “Contemporary Traditional Irish Guitar” I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Driven by my curiosity, I listened to the album immediately. Nothing could have prepared me for the innovative, soothingly pastoral music that washed over me. The works, arranged and composed by Flynn, are a unique and truly satisfying blend of traditional Irish melodies and harmonies, gently delivered in a contemporary style vaguely similar to new-age fingerstyle guitar. At a glance, the specific nature of the album title might seem to suggest that there won’t be very much variety in the music, but the truth is that each work is unique and the album is a journey through a diverse collection of compositions. Resting comfortably between the worlds of classical guitar and popular music, this album has a distinctly universal appeal. If you’re not already intrigued, try listening to one track, I can almost promise that you will want to buy this disc just to hear them all. © Timothy Smith

“This is a very special arrangement. Arranging for guitars is a very tricky business and you really have to know what you are doing, so i have never done it, but Dave Flynn and Brian Bolger have made these arrangements and they’re really quite beautiful.” – Philip Glass

Yep, Mr Glass approves which is nice to hear. Way back at the dawning of the new century I co-founded the Dublin Guitar Quartet with Brian Bolger, Pat Brunnock and Redmond O’Toole. Redmond and myself eventually left the group but they’re still going strong and still playing arrangements I made of some of Philip Glass’ String Quartets alongside Brian Bolgers own arrangements.

The DGQ as they’re known are playing Glass’ String Quartet’s No. 2-5 on 17th April in St. Anns Church, Dawson St Dublin. I’ll be in New York for a performance of my piece ‘Music for the Departed’ then so I’ll miss this event unfortunately, but if you’re around Dublin I highly recommend going along.

World Premiere of new version of ‘Between the Jigs and the Reels’

Something else which I co-founded, the Irish Composers Collective, is still going strong after six years and this Monday 22nd March I will be joined by Cora Venus Lunny (Violin) and Kate Ellis (Cello) for the first ever performance of a new arrangement for violin, cello and electric guitar of my piece ‘Between the Jigs and the Reels’. The piece was originally written for violin and piano and was only ever performed once before, in Romania of all places.

I’ll be dusting off the electric guitar for this Irish premiere performance, well actually I’ll be dusting off my old friend Ciaran Swift’s electric guitar because my own electric guitar needs to get fixed!

Also on the programme are works by my fellow ICC’ers Glen Austin, Maureen Doris, Piaras Hoban, D. E. Mc Carthy, Bill McGrath, Fergal Mulloy, Matthew Whiteside.

The concert starts with a pre-concert talk at 8pm in the Kevin Barry Room of the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

I’m delighted to report that this April my piece ‘Music for the Departed’ will receive its US Premiere at the Irish Arts Center in New York. Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill will again be performing the work they premiered in 2006 at the Masters of Tradition Festival in Bantry. The violin part will this time be played by the very talented New York resident, Irish violinist Gregory Harrington. The piece will receive three performances on the 16, 17 and 18th April.

More details below

Two New Releases

August 31, 2009

I am happy to announce two new releases featuring my music.

I’m delighted to announce the release of my second CD ‘Contemporary
Traditional Irish Guitar’. This CD features my own solo guitar
arrangements of tunes written by Irish composers over the past 50
years or so. It includes 20 tunes by the great Paddy Fahey, alongside
tunes by Liz Carroll, Charlie Lennon, Tommy Peoples, Ed Reavy, Larry
Redican and one set of my own tunes.

It is available online here
It is also available in Custy’s music shop in Ennis and it should be available soon in other shops
including iTunes and Amazon.

I’m also delighted to announce that my music features in a new
anthology of guitar music published by one of the largest music
publishers in the world, Mel Bay. They have just published the book
‘Contemporary Anthology of Solo Guitar Music for Five Fingers of the
Right Hand’, the first ever compilation of new music written
especially for guitarists to incorporate the little finger into their
plucking technique. For those of you that don’t know, most guitarists
don’t use their little finger when playing and this is something which
has been addressed by the books editor Charles Postlewate, who spent
many years developing this new technique. I’m very proud to be part of
this landmark publication with my pieces ‘Four Etudes for Five

You can read more about this book here –