Samhain music

Today I participated in “Harpers for Housing,” a fundraiser concert in SE Portland that raised over $1000 for the Northwest Pilot Project, a non-profit agency that helps elderly Portlanders with affordable housing.  Of the ten or so harpers, I’m the only one playing the clairseach / clarsach / Gaelic harp.  It feels important to get the sound of this instrument out there, even imperfectly.  I played March for the King of Laois, and it was rather fun.

Sue's Trinity on the porch on a mild October day.

Sue's Trinity on the porch on a mild October day.

For those of you who enjoy music for the dark time of the year, a member of the Bridgetown Morris Men, Ian Clemons, is organizing an event entitled The Dark Harvest Ballads on Friday, Oct. 30th at 7pm on East Burnside. We plan to attend, as I love that sort of music, and appreciate that it is a fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank.  A month ago I attended Clemons’s Bal Breton, and danced to some fine Breton tunes played and called by Clemons’s band, Mistral.

A good Samhain to you.



A successful Gaelic harp weekend!

The fledgling wire-strung harp community in Portland enjoyed a weekend packed with activities.  Ann and Charlie Heymann from Minnesota kicked off the weekend on Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 with a concert at the Community Music Center.  They played Gaelic harp, crwth, bowed and strummed lyres, button accordion, and a Welsh telyn rawn (harp) strung with horsehair.  What a collection of sounds!

The whole weekend was filled with private lessons for harpers and workshops on technique, history and lore.  Both workshops were full, and there were a number of private lesson bookings.  I don’t know about you, but I had a fantastic time.

So, what’s next?  Let’s keep the enthusiasm flowing by gathering in November for a harper’s afternoon or evening event in SE Portland.  This is a chance to play tunes for one another in a supportive gathering, and a chance to talk, eat, laugh, and share ideas and information.

If you play the wire-strung harp and live in the Portland metro area, contact me to let me know you’re out there.

With good wishes,


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