About Malachy Kearns
About Malachy Kearns
I make only Goatskin Bodhrans, 3 year + Goats, i.e Strong powerful skins. I live for 40 years in West Connemara Galway, Ireland near my Sligo – Leitrim cattle exporting family and main Goatskin source. I started making Bodhrans in 1978 when I lived beside Peadar Mercier Who was then a founder member of The world famous folk group ‘The Chieftains’, Peadar is the Man who started it all, back then Peadar graciously developed the controlled rolling rhythm style of playing and a hand tucked behind the skin too, moving / varying the tone, i.e both hands interacting together, one hand holds the beater or Cipin. This technique is now recognised as ‘the cleverest idea in manual percussion worldwide’.
One time in the 1960’s the Bodhran was just tapped / thumped on stage. (e.g The play Called ‘ Sive’). Gently de haired Goatskin has the best energy and bounceback and has a natural deep haunting sound. We do not use any strong chemicals to de Hair / de flesh Goatskins this protecting the natural fibre of the Goatskin. Our Rims are made of solid beech or fine birch ply. We make Tuneable Bodhrans in the same way since 1979. A simple inner sliding rim that can pressure the skin – alter the tone. It’s All mainly about a Good Goatskin and The playing Technique.
The rim is important but does not compensate for a Quality 3 year old Goatskin gently de haired / de fleshed. Irish Goatskin tends to be stronger due to climate and evolved breeds of Goats. I do not recommend thin Goatskins. A softer skin can be acquired from dampening sine or All of the Goatskin, thus staying with the natural deep haunting sound of a ‘Real Bodhran’ , a Sound that speedily touches Your Gut rather than mainly processing through your head / heart, the word Bodhran partly means “deaf or from deep within”. A Salute to all the local Bodhran players in towns worldwide who keep it all going. Amen Beir Bua ‘Malachy bodhran’
We give Daily Talks on The Craft of Bodhran Making, it’s history etc. to Groups at our Workshop. ( pre-book only )
Ireland’s Master Bodhran Maker
Roundstone Musical Instruments is the studio and shop of renowned bodhrán maker Malachy Kearns, or Malachy Bodhrán as he is fondly know. The Bodhrán is one of the oldest Irish musical instruments, a one sided hand held drum that is made through traditional methods using treated goat’s skin stretched onto a Birch frame. Colourful designs are hand painted onto the bodhrán including by request family crests.
Malachy has handmade all of the bodhráns used in Riverdance over the past 25 years.