Broadcast history

The Music Tree

19 December 2009
Produced by Nina Perry

A feature that follows Irish flute maker Martin Doyle as he makes the journey from the west coast of County Clare to the south east coast of Tanzania in order to find the Mpingo or African Blackwood tree (The National Tree of Tanzania). The dark, lustrous heartwood of the African Blackwood is one of the most valuable timbers in the world and is used for making clarinets, oboes, bagpipes and Irish flutes. The tree is under-threat from over-exploitation and could become commercially extinct. The Mpingo Conservation Project is working with community groups to conserve these endangered forests by promoting sustainable and socially equitable harvesting of Mpingo.

As a young man Martin Doyle traveled from Bray in County Wicklow to Africa as a ships engineer, a job he took to raise funds to set up his flute making business. Now an established flute maker based in County Clare he dreams of returning to Africa where the wood that makes his flutes comes from and setting up an Irish flute making workshop with the Tanzanian forest dependant community groups that The Mpingo Conservation Project are currently working with.

Read Nina's blog

Repeated 16th May 2010 on CBC's 'Inside the Music' and 13th November 2010 on ABC's 'Into the Music'

  • Mpingo Conservation Project