Mk Story by Douglas Davis

To start off, I first learned about your whistles when I visited the website: www.theirishflutestore.com by Dr Patrick Jones DVM. So I Googled MK Whistles and found your site. Now as far as my musical past; I started out with drums from fifth to seventh grades, then went over to Eb Alto Sax (with a little Tenor and Baritone Sax thrown in) from eigth to eleventh grade. I stopped playing in the school band as a senior since my class workload was 7 out of 8 periods with the free period being lunch/ study hall. Right around that time I saw and heard a Recorder. I decided to learn how to play the Recorder since it had practically the same fingering as the Saxophone and was a lot easier to carry around. Then in college, I bumped into a student who played the Tin/Penny Whistle. I was hooked once again since it had a different sound and musical feel. At that same time I was spending more time in the outdoors with the campus GROTTO Club learning canoeing, kayaking, hiking, cross country skiing, rock climbing, and caving. On most of those weekend trips some with camping. I would bring a recorder until my mother’s poodle chewed it up one holiday visit. So entered the Tin Whistle. It went wherever I went. My college adventures took me not only around New Jersey, but also to Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Texas (twice), Colorado, and Baltimore Maryland. The last locale was for a American Recorder Society 5 day workshop in Baltimore and included a concert by the National Aquarium. I played Recorder outside, but inside the aquarium I took my whistle to play some sea shanties and John Denver tunes.
As far as the other state visits goes, it was mainly a lot of rock climbing, hiking, and most of all caving. Caving is an all season around the year activity that can be done day or night in any kind of weather. It doesn’t matter because caves are always – inside, dark, and stays at a temperature about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Now theres a lot of mud and humid wet conditions that tells you “Do not bring a wooden Recorder in here; it will not survive.” I was known as a Pied Piper by my comrades of outdoor exploring. I would find a nice spot to take a break and pull my Whistle out of my canvas Gas Mask Bag  where my water, extra fuel for my Brass Carbide Lamp, food, and mini Maglite flashlight were kept. I’d turn off my lamp and start playing some tunes while the others in nearby passages would be lunching or just relaxing before we start moving on or exiting the cave. I’ve been in over 65 caves with the Whistle. One was within the city limits of San Antonio Texas about 2 miles away from the historic Alamo Mission. In West Virginia I was in a vertical pit cave that had us rappel down 300 feet and then continue on for about another 400 feet. Caves have great acoustical qualities to them. The sound also carries throughout a good part of nearby passageways and rooms; sometimes having an echo effect which comes in handy when playing rounds. If the weather was too nice In West Virginia to go caving, we might go climbing at Seneca Rocks.                             Or we would hike around Blackwater Falls…
Above ground my Whistle would go along while hiking at the Delaware Water Gap or Sunfish Pond or Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. Climbing would have tunes being played in the Trapps part of the Shawangunks in New Paltz New York or Bear Mountain also in New York.
Rock Climbing in New York
Now I’ve mainly played High C & D Whistles. I understand that you make Low D and Low F Whistles.  Even though I’ve never played a Low Whistle, I’d be willing to learn and show it around the state and county parks in New Jersey or Sea Kayak it around Barnegat Bay, the Delaware River, or around the Barrier Islands where no gas engine boats or jet skis are permitted. I would like to learn more about your high quality whistles. Is it possible to have two sound samples of the Low D and Low F Whistles??? Hope you enjoyed my Whistle Story as much as the bats, pack rats, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and birds enjoyed the tunes being played in or under the great outdoors…….
Sincerely,
Douglas M Davis

Whistling to Baldy – Mk Story from Patrick LongAn Mk Story from Patrick LongAn Mk Story from Patrick Long

It was January in Idaho and I was lucky enough to be spending a work day on the slopes of my favorite mountain in the stunningly beautiful Sun Valley.  I was by myself.  My family and friends unable to join me on my sudden business trip to Idaho.  I had arrived at dusk at the River lodge, the surrounding mountains glowing in a halo of warm orange and pink.

Later that night, prior to going to sleep at the mountain’s foot, I walked out alone into the snow of the street to stare up at the Milky Way and the countless stars that edged the mountain’s silhouette.  I slept soundly in front of a fire, with good food and a pint from the bar next door, dreaming of snowboarding.

When I awoke at dawn, it was crisp and clear.  The sky a cloudless white blue and a special gift awaited me.  Sometime during the night three inches of fresh, powdery snow had arrived.  My heart sang.  I knew it was going to be a great day.

I went up the mountain alone in the gondola.  When I got to the top, there was not a soul.  No one had come out for an early ski on a work day.  The mountain was mine.  I pointed in a direction and began to drift then careen down the slopes.

That morning, I enjoyed the best snowboarding of my life.  My hand occasionally dipping into the ‘white sea’ as I carved hard across the face of steep runs.  Periodically, I’d drop to my knees exhausted from non stop runs to look out across one view after another of the mountain range surrounding me.

I could feel a happy energy filling my soul and touching every fiber of being, propelling me forward still.  By Noon I was ready for a break.  So I headed to the Seattle Ridge Lodge.  Perched at nearly 9,000 feet on Mt. Baldy this Lodge has no peer when it comes to views, comfort and food.  It is the best one in all of America.  I dropped my board at the door, stripped off my backpack and gear by the fireplace and worked my way through the short line of people, coming back with bottle of Harp and some amazing smelling chili.

I sat in front of the main widows with a floor to ceiling panorama of the mountains.  It was like being in someone else’s life.  I don’t know how it came about but I realized at some point that I had overlooked my whistle when I was packing my back pack.  Unplanned, I had brought it with me snowboarding.

Full and warm and incredibly happy, I didn’t give it a second thought as I pulled the whistle out and began to play, literally to the mountains before me.

I did a couple of my favorites and then transitioned into some ‘mindless’ freestyle for the sheer joy of it.   I lost track of time and place and really have no idea how long I was going, but when I stopped, a woman I had not noticed sit near me, leaned over and said, “that was wonderful!”

That made me look up.

I was caught completely by surprise.   Gathered around me, some sitting, some standing were more than a dozen or so people all of whom had certainly stopped to listen.

I was stunned.

No one was in the room when I sat down.  So focused on playing, I hadn’t noticed anyone come in.

Now I am anything but a performer and play solely for myself.  However, in this one instance the whistle acted as it was truly meant to, a conduit for complex, inner feelings to be expressed and a beacon for others to come together.

Unquestionably embarrassed by their attention, I smiled, thanked the woman quietly, nodded to the folks around me and hastily put my whistle back into my bag, geared up and continued on with what was one of the best days of my life.

That time spent on a mountain top alone playing a whistle out of sheer joy and then finding myself surrounded by people brought together by the love of its music remains a timeless memory for me.

It was January in Idaho and I was lucky enough to be spending a work day on the slopes of my favorite mountain in the stunningly beautiful Sun Valley.  I was by myself.  My family and friends unable to join me on my sudden business trip to Idaho.  I had arrived at dusk at the River lodge, the surrounding mountains glowing in a halo of warm orange and pink.

Later that night, prior to going to sleep at the mountain’s foot, I walked out alone into the snow of the street to stare up at the Milky Way and the countless stars that edged the mountain’s silhouette.  I slept soundly in front of a fire, with good food and a pint from the bar next door, dreaming of snowboarding.

When I awoke at dawn, it was crisp and clear.  The sky a cloudless white blue and a special gift awaited me.  Sometime during the night three inches of fresh, powdery snow had arrived.  My heart sang.  I knew it was going to be a great day.

I went up the mountain alone in the gondola.  When I got to the top, there was not a soul.  No one had come out for an early ski on a work day.  The mountain was mine.  I pointed in a direction and began to drift then careen down the slopes.

That morning, I enjoyed the best snowboarding of my life.  My hand occasionally dipping into the ‘white sea’ as I carved hard across the face of steep runs.  Periodically, I’d drop to my knees exhausted from non stop runs to look out across one view after another of the mountain range surrounding me.

I could feel a happy energy filling my soul and touching every fiber of being, propelling me forward still.  By Noon I was ready for a break.  So I headed to the Seattle Ridge Lodge.  Perched at nearly 9,000 feet on Mt. Baldy this Lodge has no peer when it comes to views, comfort and food.  It is the best one in all of America.  I dropped my board at the door, stripped off my backpack and gear by the fireplace and worked my way through the short line of people, coming back with bottle of Harp and some amazing smelling chili.

I sat in front of the main widows with a floor to ceiling panorama of the mountains.  It was like being in someone else’s life.  I don’t know how it came about but I realized at some point that I had overlooked my whistle when I was packing my back pack.  Unplanned, I had brought it with me snowboarding.

Full and warm and incredibly happy, I didn’t give it a second thought as I pulled the whistle out and began to play, literally to the mountains before me.

I did a couple of my favorites and then transitioned into some ‘mindless’ freestyle for the sheer joy of it.   I lost track of time and place and really have no idea how long I was going, but when I stopped, a woman I had not noticed sit near me, leaned over and said, “that was wonderful!”

That made me look up.

I was caught completely by surprise.   Gathered around me, some sitting, some standing were more than a dozen or so people all of whom had certainly stopped to listen.

I was stunned.

No one was in the room when I sat down.  So focused on playing, I hadn’t noticed anyone come in.

Now I am anything but a performer and play solely for myself.  However, in this one instance the whistle acted as it was truly meant to, a conduit for complex, inner feelings to be expressed and a beacon for others to come together.

Unquestionably embarrassed by their attention, I smiled, thanked the woman quietly, nodded to the folks around me and hastily put my whistle back into my bag, geared up and continued on with what was one of the best days of my life.

That time spent on a mountain top alone playing a whistle out of sheer joy and then finding myself surrounded by people brought together by the love of its music remains a timeless memory for me.

It was January in Idaho and I was lucky enough to be spending a work day on the slopes of my favorite mountain in the stunningly beautiful Sun Valley.  I was by myself.  My family and friends unable to join me on my sudden business trip to Idaho.  I had arrived at dusk at the River lodge, the surrounding mountains glowing in a halo of warm orange and pink.

Later that night, prior to going to sleep at the mountain’s foot, I walked out alone into the snow of the street to stare up at the Milky Way and the countless stars that edged the mountain’s silhouette.  I slept soundly in front of a fire, with good food and a pint from the bar next door, dreaming of snowboarding.

When I awoke at dawn, it was crisp and clear.  The sky a cloudless white blue and a special gift awaited me.  Sometime during the night three inches of fresh, powdery snow had arrived.  My heart sang.  I knew it was going to be a great day.

I went up the mountain alone in the gondola.  When I got to the top, there was not a soul.  No one had come out for an early ski on a work day.  The mountain was mine.  I pointed in a direction and began to drift then careen down the slopes.

That morning, I enjoyed the best snowboarding of my life.  My hand occasionally dipping into the ‘white sea’ as I carved hard across the face of steep runs.  Periodically, I’d drop to my knees exhausted from non stop runs to look out across one view after another of the mountain range surrounding me.

I could feel a happy energy filling my soul and touching every fiber of being, propelling me forward still.  By Noon I was ready for a break.  So I headed to the Seattle Ridge Lodge.  Perched at nearly 9,000 feet on Mt. Baldy this Lodge has no peer when it comes to views, comfort and food.  It is the best one in all of America.  I dropped my board at the door, stripped off my backpack and gear by the fireplace and worked my way through the short line of people, coming back with bottle of Harp and some amazing smelling chili.

I sat in front of the main widows with a floor to ceiling panorama of the mountains.  It was like being in someone else’s life.  I don’t know how it came about but I realized at some point that I had overlooked my whistle when I was packing my back pack.  Unplanned, I had brought it with me snowboarding.

Full and warm and incredibly happy, I didn’t give it a second thought as I pulled the whistle out and began to play, literally to the mountains before me.

I did a couple of my favorites and then transitioned into some ‘mindless’ freestyle for the sheer joy of it.   I lost track of time and place and really have no idea how long I was going, but when I stopped, a woman I had not noticed sit near me, leaned over and said, “that was wonderful!”

That made me look up.

I was caught completely by surprise.   Gathered around me, some sitting, some standing were more than a dozen or so people all of whom had certainly stopped to listen.

I was stunned.

No one was in the room when I sat down.  So focused on playing, I hadn’t noticed anyone come in.

Now I am anything but a performer and play solely for myself.  However, in this one instance the whistle acted as it was truly meant to, a conduit for complex, inner feelings to be expressed and a beacon for others to come together.

Unquestionably embarrassed by their attention, I smiled, thanked the woman quietly, nodded to the folks around me and hastily put my whistle back into my bag, geared up and continued on with what was one of the best days of my life.

That time spent on a mountain top alone playing a whistle out of sheer joy and then finding myself surrounded by people brought together by the love of its music remains a timeless memory for me.

Mk Story – If a shower curtain rod could make them cry…?

Dear Mk music,

This past week I was invited to Thailand to be a part of multi-cultural band that would provide music at the international meetings of a Christian charity organization.  Although the band was mostly modern instruments, I was invited to provide a more ethnic “color” using various whistles, flutes and other instruments I have learned as a result of working with folk musicians in places ranging from Wales to Kyrgyzstan.

Well, I had been playing a Central Asian Low A Chogoino flute (from Kyrgyzstan) and afterward a guy came up to me with a low D whistle he had made from a shower rod.  He said, “I bet you could play this one too!”  Although I have played high whistles I had never played a low whistle, but the rest of the week I did use his shower-rod low D flute.  On one particular day I was playing it and a lady came up to me and said, “Wow, when you were playing, I started to cry it was so beautiful.”  Honestly, I had been moved myself at the sound of the instrument even though I wasn’t able to use the second octave due to intonation problems.

I gave back the flute at the end of the week but now I am hoping to get a Low D instrument of my own (but perhaps not a shower-curtain model).  As I have been researching on the internet I have found that you all have the reputation of being one of the best in the world, so now I am haunted by the question, “If a shower curtain rod could make people cry, what would an MK flute?”  I would love a chance to write another story for you!

cheers,
Von Newcomb

ps- An example of the Chogoino flute can be heard on the song “The King Comes on the White Stallion” on www.myspace.com/vonnewcomb

The Whistle at the End of the Universe …by Ian Nicholls

The West Coast of Scotland has to be one of the most amazing places in the world. All year I had been looking forward to another few weeks exploring it on a very special little ship, The Hippo-owned by a friend. Sailing ensures that things aren’t seen to quickly and the world goes by a sensible natural pace. The sea is not our natural habitat, and this is brought home effectively when whales would overtake us, and dolphins would come and go as if my magic.

Our destination this year was to be St Kilda, right on the edge of the Scottish West Coast, and having assembled a mix bag of sailors and musicians, we met in Castlebay on Barra.

Our experiences were mad, beautiful and mystifying. In my mind recording these is all part of journeying. In this modern world the click of a digital camera is now the accepted norm. Not always. For years traditional music told stories of joy, happiness, shipwreck…the list is endless. For me I wasn’t going anywhere without my fiddle and my MK Low D.

St Kilda had a profound effect. A new tune “Village Bay” tries to conjure up the wild eyed sheep, the incredible cliffs and amazing struggle of St Kilda, however trying to fit it all in is still very much work in progress…I’m not sure a single tune will suffice…

A Ghostly voice by Chuck Boody

At a festival a few years back several of us were playing late at night; well really early in the morning–about 2 AM. Two of us were on whistles, lo D and either A or hi D, and were improvising harmonies to the slow tunes we were playing. There was a hammered dulcimer (a fine professional), a good guitar and perhaps another person or two; at one point a cello. It had been a damp day and by 2 AM fog had settled in that was thick enough so visibility was cut to just a few feet. In fact, I almost got lost getting to the session site! We were playing some Irish song, I’ve forgotten what now, but it might have been Slane (Be Thou My Vision). Suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, a lovely tenor voice rang out singing the song! We never saw the person until after the conclusion of the piece, though we all shifted to “accompaniment mode” and supported his singing. Eventually he arrived in the circle and we learned that he had heard us from across the area and found us only by following the sound. He couldn’t see us any better than we could him. He sang several other songs with us before going off to bed; including a lovely version of “Danny Boy” that argued well for the idea that it is not a trite piece in the hands of a good singer. But to me nothing matched up with that first tune. It was like a voice from heaven and added luster to what was already a magical night.

Mk Story by Kelly Beutler

My sister lives at the foot of the Rocky Mountains at Denver, Colorado,
giving me access to that beautiful hiking country. On a visit, I had a
free afternoon so I packed a daypack and went hiking in the foothills
outside Golden.
After ascending for quite a while, I took a break and settled down on a
flat, rain-washed rock. There’s always a clean place to sit in the
Rockies!
I pulled my D whistle out of my pack and begain playing. Soon I noticed a
group of middle-aged hikers approaching, and stopped so as not to blow
them off the trail with my high range.
To my surprise, they stopped also!
Their leader said, “We’re not moving until you play some more!”
So I resumed playing as they filed past, some thanking me. I played a few
more songs and then stood, replacing my whistle in my pack when I heard a
noise behind and above me. Turning, I saw the entire group on the
switchback above me, giving me a standing ovation!
Pleased beyond words, I gave them a deep theatrical bow.
It was my first (and only) standing ovation!
…of course…they were ALREADY standing…

I once was lost, but now I’m found, by Cristin Mackenzie

My journey with the whistle began about three years ago after pestering my dad to buy me one as a Christmas present. To my delight and, after a while, my parent’s annoyance I received a plastic low D. Most of Christmas day was spent playing the whistle and that carried on throughout the Christmas holidays.

After around a year of playing my beloved plastic whistle and many, many hours spent on YouTube learning tunes I felt that I was ready to take my whistle playing to the next level! The next level being a change in substance (probably aluminium) to hopefully add more style to my playing.

I was down in London with my dad on a trip to buy and sell guitars when, on an impulse, I decided to go for an aluminium whistle by another well known maker. I was delighted with my purchase and I loved the new expression I could put into my playing.

On the flight home, being quite cautious about the safety of my new whistle I decided to bring it on the plane and store it in the overhead compartment. On arrival in Glasgow, the moment I passed security, I realised that I had left it on the plane and that I couldn’t turn back. I ran to the information desk and they sent someone back on the plane to look for it but it was gone.

I was devastated. When I got home I couldn’t even think about buying another whistle and I certainly couldn’t I afford it. However, when I told my uncle what had happened he said that he would help me get another. After some research and on hearing Mischa’s whistles I decided to order one. This time I didn’t manage to lose it and it’s usually within arms reach. I’m almost glad in a way that I lost the first one, if I hadn’t I’m not sure that I would be playing such a beautiful instrument today. Karma?

Mk Story

In third period last year, nine of the other ten students had plainly shown that they thought that a tin whistle would have a bad sound. In the third quarter, I started taking my tin whistle  to play on my walk home. One day, when we were doing nothing in class, I pulled out my whistle and started playing. It WOWED everyone. That showed them.

'MKurry' by Timothy Cummings

Last autumn, my family and I traveled to Pakistan to visit and support girls’ schools in Lahore and its surrounding villages.  I brought with me a set of shuttlepipes, a cheap banjo, and my trusty MK low-D.  At this point I should mention that I not only sport a healthy beard, but also keep a gun-cleaning rod (with lambswool top) in my whistle, as an improvised swab of sorts.  Add to that recipe the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” stamp in my American passport, and you can appreciate why I was pulled aside by security at every single airport to and fro—the MK getting carefully inspected each time (and me frequently getting frisked and interrogated as well… “no sir, it’s not dangerous unless I were to try Ricky Martin tunes on it, and I assure you I would never….”).  At any rate, the whistle was very popular among the friendly and handsome Pakistani people.  It played a few traditional Irish jigs for school girls, and a favored theme for a large audience at the grand dedication of the Kinnaird Academy.  It also dueted with a young woman who sang ‘Amazing Grace’ (in Urdu) at the Naulakha Presbyterian Church.  Should I be lucky enough to return some day, I fully intend to learn some traditional Pakistani tunes on the low-D.  Though it will probably travel without the gun rod…

Time well spent by Roibeard Boyd

I was sitting at school waiting for my first period teacher to arrive. A friend of mine and another person had brought their guitars. We were back near the band room so there were a lot of musically inclined people there. Two guitars, a clarke C whistle and a couple voices made for great music.




Translate

    Translate to:

Comments