Peadar, a native of Dublin, did not learn to play the bodhran until his 40's when he became interested in Seán Ó Ríada and Irish music. He was referred to Ó Ríada by an acquiantance who could not play for Ó Ríada for an event. He approached Ó Ríada and he handed him the bodhran with a simple rhythm: Butter and Eggs, Butter and Eggs, Butter and rashes, sausages, and eggs.
Peadar joined Ceoltóirí Cualann soon after the group was formed and joined the Chieftains in 1966 replacing David Fallon on bodhran. Mercier left the Chieftains in 1976, shortly after the group decided to go professional. His musical talents live on in his son, Mel, who is a musical genius in his own right.
The bodhrán (pronounced like bow rawn) is the heartbeat of Irish music. This ancient framedrum is traditionally made with a wooden body and a goat-skin head, and is played by striking the drumhead obliquely with the hand or with a double-headed stick called a cipín, tipper, or beater. In the most common style, the bodhránist plays the basic rhythm with the lower end of the stick, and adds ornamentation with the upper end.
The bodhrán is a relatively recent addition to Irish traditional music. Although it has a long history as a noisemaker in warfare and certain religious festivals, the drum was not accepted into modern performance ensembles until the 1960s, when Sean Ó Ríada introduced in into his arrangements for Ceoltóirí Chualann and the Chieftains. General acceptance has been slow in coming, as many traditionalists felt that the drum had no place in Irish music. This feeling is mostly gone, due the efforts of virtuosi like Peadar Mercier, Mel Mercier, Tommy Hayes, Christy Moore, and Johnny "Ringo" MacDonagh. Today, the bodhrán is found in most Irish traditional bands, and is appearing more often in Scottish music, modern folk music, Celtic-fusion rock, and even classical music. But the bodhrán continues to be the traditional butt of numerous jokes.
Special thanks to Josh Mittleman, for the above information. Josh maintaines a great resource, The Bodhrán Page, check it out!
Evidence of the use of bones as a percussion instrument dates back to the mediaeval period. The player typically holds a pair in each hand, one between the thumb and index finger, the second between the index and middle fingers. The player flicks his wrist to strike the bones together to create rhythms. Today, bones are made from various animal bones and a variety of woods such as Walnut, Oak and Maple.
Thanks to Joseph Mulvanerty for the above bones information.
These are musical clappers made of ox bone. The player holds a pair in each hand; one 'bone' is held between thumb and index finger, a second between index and middle fingers. They are clicked together by flicking the wrist. Known since medieval times when Jongleurs brought them from ancient Rome.
Thanks to Lark In The Morning for the above bones information.