On tonight’s Mary K. Burke Show tonight, Sunday 12 October from 7.00pm will be Carmel Gunning who is making the trip over to play live in the studio for Mary tonight from 7.00pm on Celtic Music Radio 95 FM across Glasgow and online.
Carmel Gunning is an Irish composer and musician from Sligo in the Republic of Ireland.
Carmel Gunning is one of Ireland’s most accomplished tin whistle players who is also known for her singing and flute playing. Carmel’s rich stylised form of whistle playing and tradition stems from her homeland of Geevagh in South County Sligo. This background and tradition aided Gunning’s introduction to traditional Irish music which took place at an early age.
She was introduced to traditional Irish music as a child when her father, Tom Nangle, would teach her old tunes by lilting or whistling them to her.
In 1969 she sang in her first band “Carmel and the Chrystals” and played at local dances in Keadue, Geevagh, Boyle and surrounding areas.
Throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s Gunning could be regularly found with P.J. Hernon, Mick Shannon, Joe O’Dowd and others at the famous sessions which took place at the Trades Club in Sligo Town.
Carmel Gunning is noted for her fast-paced tin whistle style common of fiddle, flute and tin whistle of the “South Sligo” tradition or style. Gunning’s reputation in the wider world was expanded by the release of her first solo recording The Lakes of Sligo which features four unaccompanied songs as well as 14 tracks of virtuosic tin whistle playing.
One reviewer noted that “the music she plays is in a matured and confident manner” and singing is “rich voiced” and that “it was quite common for musicians to attempt to play tunes beyond their style and capabilities, not so with Carmel, who, although a master, still plays within a comfortable range with music that suits her style and personality. This talented lady is an accomplished singer and composer as well as a dynamic musician”.
Another reviewer of her music noted that “no modern tin whistler can escape comparison to Mary Bergin, and Carmel’s playing does indeed remind some of the Dublin-born star. If anything, however, Gunning plays reels with a more insistent headlong drive. Her ornamentation is also more diverse, featuring many tongued triplets in imitation of the bowed embellishments popular among Sligo fiddlers”.
Carmel Gunning is an tutor for MA and BA music students at the University of Limerick, Ireland.
In addition, Carmel is the organiser and director of music for the Carmel Gunning International Summer School Festival of Irish Music Song and Dance which is held annually in August in Geevagh and Sligo town. Gunning founded the festival in the 1990s and it attracts pupils from across Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.
She has also worked hard to pass on the Sligo musical tradition to younger players and recently celebrated her 25th anniversary as a music teacher. Alumni of her Carmel Gunning School of Music include flute and whistle masters Liam Kelly of the group Dervish, Olivia McTiernan and June Ní Chormaic, Kyle Moynagh, Aisling McPhillips, Loretto Clarke, Edel Giblin, Patricia Burns, Caroline Burns, Orlaith MacAuliffe among others.
Mary K. Burke Show, Sunday 12 October 7.00-9.00pm.