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Traditional Irish music has seen yet another instrument added to its ranks as a large number of people rush to take up the slide whistle.

Many instruments like the spoons and cajon seem to have withstood an onslaught of abuse following their inclusion, however the slide whistle appears to have slid in unnoticed, especially since this year's Willie Clancy festival.

Sessions all over the country have been reporting unwanted slide whistle solos which have been garnering attention from musicians and listeners alike. American tourists in particular have been going mad for them and it has been rumoured that many of them have one handy in their coat pocket, ready to pull out at a moment's notice.

One session goer told The Drone: "The lads were just playing away, minding their own business, playing a few tunes. All of a sudden we heard what sounded like something comically slipping on the floor. When we turned around, we realised that it was actually a slide whistle."

"This gobshite just sat himself down and started playing along to the music. I don't know how he managed all the keys on that small thing! The intonation piss poor too as he had to slur all the feckin' notes. Sounded like a tin whistle player on heroin. It was awful!"

Many flautists are also taking up the instrument, applying their years of hard work perfecting the concert flute to crappy pieces of bamboo with a few holes cut in the top. Flute makers such as Mike Grinter and Eamon Cotter are reportedly making slide whistles to order, such is the demand for the "instrument".

There has also been a huge increase in the number of slide whistle groups, with this year's All-Ireland Fleadh set to be inundated with slide whistle groups entering both the Ceili Band and Grupa Ceoil, as well as the Duets and Trios.

This apparently is not the first appearance of the slide whistle. Many older musicians recall a largely unheard recording from the 1980s featuring Matt Molloy, Joanie Madden and Mary Bergin in a slide whistle ensemble. All 3 of the musicians refused to comment when contacted about the slide whistle.

Next year's Willie Clancy Summer School is already set to feature an added slide whistle class but the tutors have yet to be confirmed. However, virtuoso slide whistle player Fergus McGorman is rumoured to be heading the teacher list for Summer 2017.


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