Geevagh, County Sligo, Ireland
|Occupation||Musician and Music Teacher|
Carmel Gunning is an Irish composer and musician, from Sligo, Ireland. Gunning is one of Ireland's most accomplished tin whistle players who is also known for her singing and flute playing. Gunning'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.
In 1969 she sang in her first band, "Carmel and the Chrystals", and played at local dances in Keadue, Geevagh, Boyle and surrounding areas. Playing in the band with Gunning was her brother, Tom Nangle Jnr., Tony Mullaney, Kevin Conlon and his brother. Gunning won the All-Ireland tin whistle slow airs competition at the Fleadh Cheoil in 1976 and senior Scór title for "Music Instrument" section, which incorporates all musical instruments used in traditional Irish music including the fiddle, uilleann pipes, accordion and harp as well as the tin whistle.
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.
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".
Teaching and instructing
Gunning is an tutor for MA and BA music students at the University of Limerick. She recently celebrated her 25th anniversary as a music teacher and has endeavoured to pass on the Sligo musical tradition to younger players. Among former pupils of the Carmel Gunning School of Music is flute and whistle master Liam Kelly of the group Dervish.
She has played Irish music around the world playing concerts from Norway to Australia and from America to Japan. In 2006, Gunning lead the St. Patrick's Day parade and played a number of concerts in Perth, Australia and in March 2007 she undertook a tour of Massachusetts, USA where she played a various venues giving masterclasses to experienced student and playing concerts.
She is the organiser and director of music for the Carmel Gunning International Summer School Festival, 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.
- The Lakes of Sligo (1995)
- Around St.James's Well (1995)
- Carmel Sings Country (2002)
- The Sligo Maid (2004)
- Lament for the Birds Jack Harte Featured Appearance (2005)
- The Sound of Coleman Country Various Artists Featured Appearance (2006)
- Corran Hill (2008)
Albums and Tracklists
|The Lakes of Sligo
|Around St.James's Well
|Carmel Sings Country
|The Sligo Maid
|Lament for the Birds
|The Sound of Coleman Country
"Corran Hill", released in 2008. This is Carmel Gunnings 5th solo CD. It is a mixture of contemporary and Irish music and song.
- Song: Erin Gra Mo Chroi.
- Song: An Greasai Brog.
- Flings: Were You at the Fair
- Song: Donal Og.
- Song: Around St. James's Well.
- Slow Air:An Chulfhionn.
- Song: Katie Daly.
- Reels:The Moving Cloud/The Old Bush.
- Song: The Exile Far Away.
- Reels Jean's Reel/Colonel Frazer's.
- Song: The Geevagh Prisoners.
- Jigs: Roger Sherlock's/Corran Hill (own composition)
Carmel is accompanied on her CD by Brendan Emmett and Paul Gurney. Special Guest: Orlaith MacAuliife, London.
Gunning (Ed.), Carmel (2006). The Mountain Top. Sligo: Coleman Heritage Centre.
The book was launched at The Coleman Music Centre, Gurteen, County Sligo. It contains over sixty tunes popular in South Sligo and beyond with design and setting by Adrienne Lee.
Gunning (Ed.), Carmel (2007). The Maid of Sweet Gurteen. Sligo: Coleman Heritage Centre.
Interview with Carmel Gunning recorded in May 2010 at http://www.podcasts.ie/featured-musicians/carmel-gunning/
|All-Ireland Fleadh tin whistle (slow air) Champions
- Susan Gedtus Lindsay. "World-Class Irish Whistler tours Boston" (PDF). Boston Irish Reporter. Retrieved 1 May 2007.
- Robert Cullen. "Carmel Gunning shows her country side". SligoWeekender. Retrieved 30 January 2002.
- Susan Lindsay. "World Class Irish Whistler Tours Boston" (PDF). Boston Irish Reporter. Retrieved 24 April 2007.
- "Yeats Festival, Sligo". Yeats Society Sligo. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
- "Queen Maeve". Carmel Gunning. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
- Irish music. "Carmel Gunning : The Sligo Maid". Irish abroad. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
- Lansdowne Luncheon – St Patrick’s Day 2006 – Events
- Geoff Wallis. "Carmel Gunning". IrishMusicReview. Retrieved 16 October 2006.
- "Carmel Gunning". TradMusic. Retrieved 12 January 2003.
- "Teachers Profile". St.Louis Festival. Archived from the original on 17 January 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2006.
- "The Sligo Maid". The Whistle Shop. Retrieved 2 May 2006.