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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Aidan Mulholland
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Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!

Musician: Aidan Mulholland

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Instruments: Fiddle / guitar

Music: Irish folk / Spanish / flamenco / world fusion

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story

Listen  Listen (5'39) to 'Dogs in the Street', performed by Aidan Mulholland and the Samsonelles with Aidan on guitar, Conor Ward on saxophone, Antoine Rivoire on bass, Vicente Zahartos Isidro on percussion and Una Mulholland on vocals and percussion.

Listen  Listen (1'04) to Aidan Mulholland talk about his music.

'Flamenco stops me worrying - it's immediate, vital and free unlike Western music'

How I came to this music:

I come from the sort of family where, due to my arty mother, everyone was obliged to sing or recite whenever there'd be a gathering. She played the piano by ear so there was always music in the house.

When I was 11, I learned the violin and played in the school orchestra but I really didn't enjoy those rigid classical lessons. I was much more mystified and excited by friends of mine who were able to play traditional Irish music without reading any musical notation.

When I was a student of engineering at Edinburgh University, I taught myself to play Spanish classical guitar. After I graduated, I moved to London where I worked as a fairly unhappy engineer with British Telecom. A year later, I'd had enough and returned home to Belfast. It was during that time that I took up traditional fiddle playing. I had lessons from the great Cavan fiddler, Sean Maguire. He's lived most of his life in Belfast and has been a major inspiration for me when it comes to traditional Irish music.

AidanAt the same time, I ended up playing with a country trash band called Ten Wheels for Jesus. That's a line out of a 1950's trucking song by a guy called Elvis Hitler. It was great fun as I hadn't really played publicly before.

Some time later, about 1989, I spotted an advert in a guitar magazine for a two-week course of flamenco guitar in Cordoba so I booked myself in. We played all day and all night for the entire fortnight and I've been hooked on flamenco ever since. I regularly go back to Spain to recharge my musical spirits. It's brilliant.

Flamenco stops me worrying about everything else. It's immediate and vital unlike Western music, which, for me is far too self-conscious and controlled. With flamenco, you've just got to let go and enjoy the experience, whether you're the performer or in the audience. Everyone's involved.

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