About 5 or 6 years ago I was working in my shop on a Sunday afternoon while listening to The Nacho Celtic Hour on KPBX Spokane radio when I heard a beautiful sounding stringed instrument playing Gaelic music. Gaelic music is an umbrella term for the folk music of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. What I heard was the sound of an Irish Bouzouki; an 8 stringed instrument tuned to GDAD which evolved from the Irish folk music revival of the 1960's & 1970's.
Having never seen an Irish Bouzouki before I was able to find one on the internet that was made at Trinity College, Dublin. It is a mandolin like instrument that you are unlikely to find on the rack at your average music store. Generally speaking these are custom built instruments that are hand made on an individual basis. Once in my possession I strummed my fingers across the strings and there was that beautiful sound I had heard on the radio. I was hooked.
Interestingly, the Irish Bouzouki is neither an Irish instrument nor Irish traditional. Irish musicians visiting the Balkan's in the 1960's adopted the Greek Bouzouki. It is a bowl backed instrument that Irish Luthiers were unable or unwilling to duplicate. They ended up building a flat back instrument with a tuning system more suited to Celtic music.
This is a video of Kise Osamu playing The Rain Song. Kise is a talented Irish Bouzouki player from Osaka, Japan. His music inspires me when I am working in my shop.
My intention is to complete and display this Irish Bouzouki at the Spokane Fall Folk Festival this November. I will continue to update posts as the Irish Bouzouki Project continues.