Aoife O’Brien, age 15, learns traditional Irish music with Club Ceoil Knocknaheeny (Creative Tradition) in partnership with Music Generation Cork City.
I was in 5th class when I started music in school. I asked my mam if I could and she said ‘yes absolutely!’. She adores my playing. If I ever say “Oh do you wanna hear me playing?” I probably wouldn’t even be finished my sentence and she’d be like “yeah bring down all of them and play for me. I love listening to you!” One of her favourites is ‘Foggy Dew’. My favourite is ‘Planxty Irwin’. It gives me shivers.
I first started on violin, but now I am strongest on the flute. I chose the flute because they are elegant instruments, and I think it’s impressive how some people can play really really fast! Someday I’m going to be like that. I also play guitar, ukulele, a small bit of piano and bodhran, and soon I want to try the concertina. I love music, it’s so good. When I’m practicing at home, I forget the time, and I just keep playing.
Trad is the only style I play and I absolutely love it, but eventually I would like to try classical flute too. My cousin Abbie is in the Barrack Street Youth Band, and she plays clarinet, so in school then if there was ever someone I wanted to do a harmony with me, or to join in, I’d ask her, ‘cause the clarinet sounds really good with the flute.
Before I started music, I used to get a lot of stage fright and never wanted to play in front of people. Over the years I’ve kind of gained more confidence. Playing in public kind of helps.
One time, I went up to my nans house, and all my aunts and uncles and cousins were down there. And I happened to just go to music beforehand so I had my instruments. So my mam was like “she can play some tunes for you!”. My aunts are hilarious, and they all grew up with the trad songs my granda sang. My mam said to play ‘Shoe the Donkey’, so when I did, they were all dancing away, and I was laughing! It was so hard to play (while laughing!). Then my 9 year old cousin was inspired by me, so now she wants to try and start up music too.
I want to be a music teacher when I’m older, and whenever I have kids, I’ll definitely be giving instruments to them to learn.