I started to play in 1992. My first one was a cheap one made for tourists, including a picture of a harp and shamrock. As soon as I got serious, I changed to proper makers and better instruments. Learning the instrument was not easy, as there were no workshops like you find them today.
The session in Hannover was of great help in the beginning, esp. Klaus Gehrmann. Going to Ireland and meeting musicians also helped a lot. I received plenty of support from other musicians, along with the occasional remark like "A Gentleman is a man who owns a bodhran but doesn't play it". I had the pleasure to learn from people like Stephen Campbell and Ian Smith in Donegal and my friend Eamon Jordan, who took me to my first session In Ireland. When I asked "Will I bring the drum ?" he just looked at me and said: "Of course!!".
A lot of things have developed since these days. In Hannover I joined DeReelium, then was asked by the German uilleann pipes society if I could do workshops for them. At the tionols I met other musicians and Steampacket and Cara were formed. Cara is taking me all over Europe now, and even to the US. Together with Guido Plüschke I developed the BodhránWeekends and I teach regularly at other workshops. In the last years (since 2005) I had the great honour to teach at the renowned Bodhrán Summerschool Craiceann on Inis Oírr.
People say my style is mixture of traditional pulse orientated playing and the more extroverted top end style. This is something I like. Many other players have influenced me, among them Brian Morrissey from Nenagh, John Joe Kelly of Flook, Frank Torpey, Mel Mercier, Jimmy Higgins, Tommy Hayes, Junior Davey, and Eamon Murray.
Two players will always be special and inspirational: Seamus O'Kane und Johnny McDonagh. I learned a lot about the pulse from both of them and they showed me what's really important in bodhrán playing.
I would like to thank all the players and musicians I had the honour to play with and who enriched my life with their music.
Pieces to remember - Melanie Mau & Martin Schnella
Live - Cara
Gray Matters - Melanie Mau & Martin Schnella
Yet We Sing - Cara
Whistle Man - Olaf Sickmann
Swift as a Swallow - Crosswind
Mirage - A Portrayal Of Figures - Flaming Row
The Brendan Voyage - Rüdiger Oppermann
Horizon - Cara
BodhranInsight - Guido Plüschke und Rolf Wagels
From Hamburg to Galway - Guido Plüschke
Watergrasshill - Johannes Schiefner
Long Distance Love - Cara
In Full Swing - Live - CD & DVD - Cara
In Between Times - Cara
Blue - Colman Connolly, Tobi Kurig, Franzi Urton
In Colour - Cara
Sommertiefe - Olaf Sickmann
Homecoming - Steampacket
Mary is busy..too busy to marry“ - More Maids
Millvalley - DeReelium
The North Sea Chinaman - Stefan Lups
you’ll never know... - Allan Cortez & Tommy Kraus