Interview with Ann Heymann, Siobhán Armstrong, and Talitha MacKenzie on Irish Radio

The 10th annual Scoil na gCláirseach in Kilkenny, Ireland has just ended, and why not find out more about some of its most interesting tutors and students?

Students at Scoil na gClairseach, 2009. Photo by Sue.

Here’s a link to an interview on KCLR, a radio station in Carlow/Kilkenny, Ireland.  You’ll hear Siobhán introduce the program with a brief history of the Summer School of the Early Irish Harp, with a delightful, intelligent explanation of replica harps, and how they are different in sound and materials from modern harps.  She clacks on her deliciously resonant soundbox for the benefit of the listeners, and goes on to play Eleanor Plunkett by Carolan on her Kortier Trinity College harp.  Then Talitha MacKenzie offers a brief example of puirt-a-beul, or mouth music, and the master of the instrument, Ann Heymann, closes with a short piece she learned from the fiddler James Kelly.  Check it out, as I don’t know how long the link will be active.  A special thanks to scholar Karen Loomis for pointing out the interview.

Wishing you a fine late summer,

–Sue

Galway Early Music Festival features Harpers and Pipers

In just a few weeks the Galway Early Music Festival will begin in the west of Ireland.  This year, the organizers, several of whom are regulars at Scoil na gCláirseach, have succeeded in bringing harper Siobhán Armstrong, piper Barnaby Brown and piper and singer Griogair Labhruidh, the members of Coracle, to the festival.  If you are able to attend, it should be a glorious performance.

–Sue

Harper pictured on a cross at St. James’s Church, Castledermot, Ireland. Photo by Sue, 2009.

Harpers at Brighid: a Treasure House of Offerings

Harpers comprehend the significance of the fire festival of Brighid, dedicated to the goddess of smithcraft, poetry and healing.  It also signals the early stirrings of spring.  In honor of Brighid, here is a harper’s assortment of treasures.

Enjoy the new Scoil na gCláirseach video, which gives a glimpse into the special world created by the marvelous staff for one week of each summer in Kilkenny, Ireland.

If you are smitten by the sound of Griogair Labhruidh’s singing at the end of the video clip, enjoy the whole performance of this lament, entitled Cumha Choir’ an Easain.

Another treasure, announced at Brighid:  Javier Sainz has a new website.

Here is a fourth treasure:  an article about Ann Heymann entitled “Brigid, Imbolc, and the Gaelic Harp,” published in 2008 in Eolas, a druidic journal.

And a fifth:  a glimpse of Vicente la Camera’s handsome new MacDonald Trinity clarsach.  Listen to Vicente play Carolan’s Lament for Owen Roe O’Neill.

Enjoy these small beauties, and join me in celebrating music, song, poetry, and those extraordinary harpers living and working among us.  In honor of Brighid,

–Sue

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