Lyres, Ap Huw, Glendalough, and Wales: BBC Documentary on the History of the Harp

Glendalough. Photo by Sue, 2010.

I confess that I am normally not very interested in documentaries featuring modern harpists doing their thing, but this BBC short film, about an hour in length, provides some interesting clips of early lyres unearthed in Iraq, bray harps, early Irish or Gaelic harps, the Robert Ap Huw MS, and a visit to Glendalough, the monastic community in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland that I had the pleasure of visiting in the summer of 2010.  I’ve added time stamp information below the video to help you find the bits that I found most interesting, but you may prefer to just watch the whole thing.  Special thanks to my friend Sam Tyler for sharing the video.

Time Stamps:

2:20:  Early harp discoveries in Ur, Iraq. Photos of lyres found in 1929 royal grave.  Lyre of Ur reconstruction.
3:50:  Visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to visit with Alemu Aga, who plays a buzzy, delicious sounding lyre as a sacred instrument to accompany spoken words.
7:25: Anglo-Saxon lyre and vocals by Bragod perform a snippet of the Gododdin.
8:30:  Bill Taylor and Robert Evans introduce the bray harp and the Robert Ap Huw MS
10:30:  more on Robert ap Huw MS, including images of the MS tablature.
12:30:  visit to Glendalough in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, with Paul Dooley playing a snippet of Kaniad y Gwynn Bibydd.
16:00:  Alan Stivell on the harp revival in Brittany.
19:20:  Andrew Lawrence-King, who teaches at Scoil na gCláirseach, plays triple harp.
23:00:  interview with Llio Rhydderch, traditional Welsh Triple Harp teacher and player, who discusses learning and teaching via the oral tradition.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year celebration,


2 Responses

  1. Looks like a great video and I most certainly appreciate the time stamps. Makes it a snap to find the “good parts”.
    And Happy New Year!

  2. I think Llio Rhydderch’s comments about learning from Nansi Richards are extremely interesting!

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