What's New
Contact Us

Ronan Browne
Ronan Browne

Born: August 7 1965 Dublin, Ireland
Education: Yes, well enough to enjoy life
Favorite Drink: Red wine sometimes, Water sometimes
Favorite Food: Anything Japanese except Blowfish
Favorite Music: Whatever I to listen to for longer than 45 seconds
Favorite Movie:
Light Years Away (Alain Tanner 1980) Wonderful metaphorical story of a simple young man, who decides to say yes and go to encounter his redemption. An opportunity to see how the relationship between two completely different people develops in beautiful and tender scenes and without noticing it to reflect about what to be human is all about...
Hobbies: Flippering (in the Atlantic)
Yes, lots of them
Studio Gear: Protools and Neuman mics

Website: http://homepage.eircom.net/~browne/ronan.html


RocketBaby: Tell us a little about yourself.

Ronan Browne: I've recorded or worked on over sixty albums to date since my first recording in 1982. I am constantly involved with Contemporary as well as Traditional projects. I have worked on many Hollywood film scores including Rob Roy, Circle of Friends and The Secret of Roan Inish. I was the original piper on the Riverdance recording but declined the show as it would take me away from home and from my other projects. I was a founder member of the Afro Celt Sound System, toured worldwide with them, and wrote and recorded material for the first two CDs. I have made many recordings of the old traditional music of Ireland, playing with both old and young musicians and singers. I am a member of and again have toured the world with the Irish three piece band CRAN. We did a very successful ten city tour of Japan in 1999.

RB: How Melody of Legend project conceived?

Ronan: I was not personally involved in the conception of the project. It was the producer, Kenichi Funayama, who initially contacted me after the idea had been conceived. Having been previously involved in an Irish music interpretation of Final Fantasy IV in the early 90's, I was aware of this market in Japan, and had enjoyed working on that previous project.

RB: Did you have any input how the songs should be arranged? How closely did you follow the arrangers concepts? Which arranger where you most comfortable working with? ?

Ronan: The initial arrangements were done in Japan by six or seven arrangers and sent as pre-recorded sound files, which we loaded onto my ProTools system. As the arrangers wouldn't have had an in-depth knowledge of Irish Uilleann Pipes, flutes and whistles, some of the arrangements had to be changed as we recorded. This was done together with myself, our engineer Ciaran Byrne, Kenichi, and two of the arrangers, Yoko Ueno and Yuji Yoshino. I found Yoko and Yuji very easy to work with. Yoko has very good English that made communication easy. By the second week, Yuji realized he had a lot more English than he thought. In fact all three were even speaking some Irish by the end of the recording! They are very interested in Irish musical instruments, melodies and techniques. We had a great time together and all agreed that we would love to get together again for new projects. Actually, since then, I have been working with Yoko on another project. She sent over the tracks, I recorded over them and sent them back - modern technology, eh!! Many of the arrangements changed also at the mixing stage. Ciaran has a great ear for creating soundscapes and made many changes to the pre-recorded sounds using filters, knobs and buttons! I think that part of the idea of coming to Ireland was to use an Irish engineer who would bring his own creativity to the project. Ciaran lived up to this wonderfully.

RB: Did you get the opportunity to listen to the original game music?

Ronan: Yes. I was sent a minidisc of the originals - very different to what we produced! Now, after the recording, it is interesting to listen to both recordings and to compare them.

RB: What is your favorite track from the Melody of Legend discs?

Ronan: My favorite track is "Arcana Densetsu" (Track 2 on Chapter of love). I enjoy the high synth and the Irish Whistle battling and answering each other. The sounds are great and there is a huge feeling of tension throughout the track. Kalta is the arranger and I think he must have much "Good Madness" in him! All the Whistle parts are my own and I felt the track gave me full freedom to explore rhythm and melody. Having said that, I loved working on every track and enjoyed the freedom to play around with the melodies and to compose my own melodies as a foil to them.

RB: How does working in Ireland compare to working in Japan?

Ronan: Having worked previously in Japan, I found it to be quite similar, except for the environment! In Tokyo, the studio was in the middle of the city and surrounded by people and by other buildings. Here, we were in a thatched cottage on the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean... During the work hours of the day, things are naturally similar. In the evening I was taken to beautiful restaurants in Tokyo. Here, of course, we did the same but we also visited local country pubs where people were playing traditional Irish music and singing songs in the Irish language. People we met were fascinated to learn that we were working on a big modern recording project down the road! And of course, Kenichi, Yoko and Yuji were seen as exotic by everybody we met and people were teaching them phrases in the Irish language. We all had a great time as well as working very hard!

RB: Would you explain how the Uilleann Pipes work? How similar is it to bagpipes?

Ronan: The Uilleann Pipes are similar to the Scottish Bagpipes but are more complex: You can play melody and accompany yourself with drones whilst also playing a moving chordal accompaniment of up to three more notes. So seven sounds can be made at any one time - a very full sound indeed! With the greater complexity and therefore size of the Uilleann Pipes, there is a common joke:

Q. "What is the main difference between the Scottish and the Irish pipes?"
A. "The Irish pipes take longer to burn!!!"

RB: When did you begin playing and how long did it take you to master the Uilleann pipes?

Ronan: I began when I was seven years old and have been playing for thirty years. I suppose you could say that somebody has mastered the Uilleann Pipes when they can make enjoyable music using all three elements of the instrument: the Chanter, the Drones, and the Regulators which are the chordal accompaniment part. The regulators are usually the last element attempted, after learning to play melody and drones. I began playing them at the age of 15 but, of course, was terrible at them in the beginning! I feel that, like any artist, I am still learning and will continue doing so to the end...

RB: Why do you think Irish music is popular around the world and Japan?

Ronan: I suppose Irish Music is popular because it is just so very good! It is extremely accessible, has great rhythms and huge soulful slow melodies. It has become 'cool' around the world recently but it was always cool to the people who played it and shared it. All the rest of the world had to do was to listen in and join the experience. There will often - but not always - be interesting results when you mix contemporary styles with music which has been living and developing for centuries. All of a sudden you have something new, very real but exotic. This is highly enjoyable but I suspect that the older traditional forms often stand the test of time better...

RB: Any final thoughts?

Ronan: Well, I haven't much more to say after all that. Suppose I hope I never go deaf. Anyway, I really enjoyed the interview, and love the RocketBaby site, thank you very much.

Ronan's latest work

Discuss this interview at RocketBaby's Forum

RocketBaby would like to thank Mr. Browne for chatting with us.


Copyright 2001 Hollow Light Media


Japan Banner Exchange

FHF 1914-1999 SMF 1992-1999

All Rocketbaby™ images and this site are copyright 2001 Hollow Light Media .
All images and sound are the propertyof their respective owners.
All images and sounds
are for evaluation purposes only and should be removed from your hard drive after 24 hours.