Irish Drum – Bodhran

“Music is a big deal, um, in my family. Particularly Irish music.”




“Um, my uncle plays the bodhran, or I guess both of my uncles do.”


“I’m not sure if my grandmother’s family. They were like a working family so I don’t they would have, like, sat down and, I don’t know, maybe they would have, um, just played for fun or whatever in the evenings. Um, but, um, yeah as long as I can remember they’ve come around at Christmastime and that drum comes out, or both the drums come out depending on how many brothers bring the drums haha. And uh, so they sit there and play for hours an hours.”


“Well that’s cool. So is it during a specific holiday or just whenever they come?”


“Just whenever they come around to visit.”


“The rowdy Irish come to town.”


“Oh yes, the rowdy Irish and the Guinness come out or Smithwick’s.”


“So did they, where did they learn that from? Like did they…”


“I think it was all by ear, I think, I don’t think it was any kind of professional training.”


“But did they, like, learn that in Ireland?”


“I don’t think so, um. My grandma and grandpa immigrated in the 1950s, um, and then, like, my mom and her brothers were raised in Cincinnati. I think it was just, like, listening to Irish music over the years and picking it up from there.”

This is an interesting, unique cultural find since there probably aren’t that many people in America who are familiar with such an old world cultural item. I doubt very few have ever even heard of the instrument, but it’s a great way for traditional Irish culture to be spread beyond its tiny land boundary.