Third Space Ensemble and the Bucks of Bangalore: An Ethnography of Irish-Indian Music Pedagogy


  • Matthew Noone University of Limerick


In 2012, the director of the BA in Irish traditional performance program at the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick, Dr. Niall Keegan, had given me my first 'gig' as an ensemble pedagogue. I was invited to teach thirty first year undergraduates how to take an Irish traditional tune and use Indian classical techniques on it. To quote Dr. Keegan, “Mess with it'...improve it...Indian-ify it.”

While I had been playing Indian Classical music for over a decade and collaborated with many musicians around the globe, this was my first experience working with Irish traditional musicians.  I still remember that first class, sitting cross legged on a rug on the floor with my sarode[i] surrounded by students in chairs. It must have been as strange an experience for the students as it was for me. I'd never been in a classroom with so many different instruments and also so many different emotional temperaments ranging from concertina (curiosity) to banjo (bemusement), accordion (apathy), fiddle (flaked out), and whistle (wondering what the hell I'm doing here!).

[i] A 25 stringed North Indian lute.

Author Biography

Matthew Noone, University of Limerick

Originally involved in the post-rock scene in urban Australia, Mattu has travelled an eclectic musical route via North India to Ireland. A student of the sarode (25 stringed India lute) since 2004, Mattu has spent many years studying Indian Classical music with Sougata Roy Chowdhury in Kolkata and more recently with K Sridhar in the UK. He has performed and taught Indian music across Europe and Asia and was a founding member of successful fusion group The Bahh Band. He completed his MA (1st Honours) in Ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and is currently exploring the performance possibilities of Indian and Irish music as part of an Arts Practise PhD program.  He has been awarded a 2 year scholarship from the Irish Research Council to complete this research.  Mattu was also recently offered support from Culture Ireland and the Music Network to tour India and has developed a hybrid sarode particularly for playing Irish music.