Some Irish Harpers, 1988–2010

Some Irish Harpers, 1988–2010

Now playing: The jointure and jig, harp piece, & jig / Kathleen Loughnane, harp, & Cannon Caitríona, harp
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  1. The jointure and jig, harp piece, & jig / Kathleen Loughnane, harp, & Cannon Caitríona, harp
  2. The cat that kittled in Jamie’s wig, schottische / Gráinne Hambly, harp
  3. Her mantle so green, air ; and other airs / Bonnie Shaljean, harp
  4. Dearbhail’s tune, air / Dearbhail Finnegan, harp
  5. Miss Hamilton, harp piece / Cormac de Barra, harp
  6. B’fhéidir go bhfuil, b’fhéidir go won’t, air / Seána Davey, harp
  7. The gypsy mirage, air / Sophie Barbotin, harp, & others
  8. Anna Mhic Dhiarmada rua, harp piece / Aibhlín McCrann, harp
  9. An Ciarraíoch mallaithe, air ; The humours of Dingle, jig / Deirdre Granville, harp
  10. The Leitrim bucks, reel / Holly Geraghty, harp
  11. Eleanor Plunkett, harp piece ; & slip jigs / Órla Fallon, harp
  12. Carolan’s concerto, harp piece / Siobhán Armstrong, harp

Some Irish Harpers, 1988–2010

The harp is the oldest of the Irish traditional instruments still played, and after teetering on the brink of extinction in the 19th century it entered on a period of revival in the 1890s, a revival that is now over a hundred years old and one that has given rise to its own traditions.

In modern times, the playing of the Irish harp – and its ancient and modern traditions – has been fostered by the Irish harping society Cairde na Cruite, Friends of the Harp, which was founded in 1960 and must be the oldest existing Irish organisation dedicated to a single musical instrument. Cairde na Cruite celebrated in 2010 the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation and also the twenty-fifth anniversary of its annual residential summer school in Termonfeckin, Co Louth; for further information click here.

Contemporary Irish harpers, playing wire-strung and gut-strung instruments, form a large and thriving community, with many schools and festivals, competitions and workshops, and there are many such professional harpers to be found world-wide. The following tracks offer an introduction to the Irish harp of the present day; they have been kindly donated to the Irish Traditional Music Archive to mark the Cairde na Cruite anniversaries by the players and their record companies as noted.

With thanks to the harpers featured and to their record companies.

NC & DD, 1 December 2010