Last September, a brief article published in the Daily Mail entitled “Natural Painkillers” echoed the interesting results of an American study saying that music, harp music in particular, can reduce pain in patients undergoing treatment. It is not rare that such studies show the impact of music in that matter. The results are such that some hospitals have now a harp therapist among their staff, and programs, such as the International Harp Therapy Program, have been set up in many countries. As an introduction to the subject, we asked the harp therapist Anouk Platenkamp to tell us what a day playing the harp in hospital is like.
Originally from Scotland, clàrsach in hand, Maeve Gilchrist has moved to the United States where she has developed a unique sound between Celtic, jazz and experimental music. The release of her new album, 20 Chandler Street, gives us the opportunity to come back to the unusual career of one of today's most talented harpists.
Passionate people interested in the Celtic harp met from the 9th to the 13th of July, for the 31st edition of the Rencontres Internationales de Harpe Celtique of Dinan (Brittany). Amateur-harp maker and founder of the online magazine Harpes Mag’, Didier Saimpaul gave a workshop on harp technical drawings.
Dimitri Boekhoorn always surprises us with his versatility as a musician. On stage, with a dozen harps, of different times, sizes and sounds, with wire strings (brass, bronze, steel), horsehair, ancient gut, in synthetic materials (nylon, carbon), historical harps from the Middle Ages or modern instruments created from scratch, he travels time, space, and music. He still surprises us when he presents a real mystery: a harp with golden strings. Answers from him:
Just over a month after the Kristianstad Öresund HarpHelg (read the post about it), Sweden is again the stage of another harp event. This year, the Nordic Harp Meeting will be held from the 31st October to the 3rd of November in Järna. Erik Ask-Upmark, international harp player and organiser of the coming edition, and Josef Berger, harp player and founder of the Meeting, tell us about what is one of the most original events dedicated to the harp:
The Öresund HarpHelg festival will celebrate its 10th edition on the 28th and 29th September, in Kristianstad (Skåne, Sweden). Every year, the festival moves in the Öresund region, between Denmark and Skåne, the southern part of Sweden. Created in 2004 on the initiative of Helen Davies, Lia Lonnert and Susan Enochsson, this musical week-end is the opportunity for all the Scandinavian harp players to gather. The international harp player Susan Enochsson presents this interregional, intergenerational, intermusical festival:
Created in 2003 by the Comité des Rencontres Internationales de Harpe Celtique (CRIHC – Committee of the International Celtic Harp Meeting), driven by Myrdhin and Zil, Ti an Delenn (the Harp House) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Storefront of the summer festival but also resource centre, exhibition hall, meeting place and shop, the Harp House organises events all along the year. Hélène Chapillon and Ingrid Malot are the two permanent staff members of this unique place in the world which was created thanks to support provided by the city of Dinan.
In one week, the 30th edition of the Dinan Rencontres Internationales de Harpe Celtique will be launched (see the post dedicated to this subject). The artistic director and founder of the festival, Myrdhin, gave us an interview in which he talks about the creation of the Rencontres, the important years and the present edition.
Retiring early from a specialised medical career, the Irishman Derek Ball can now devote himself full-time to composition. His repertoire includes solo instruments pieces, chamber music (like his Songs and Stories of Caílte's Time for Celtic harp and speaker, created by Anne-Marie O'Farrell and Séamus mac Gabhan) as well as larger works for symphonic orchestra and operas. Particularly present on the Irish contemporary music scene, his music has been programmed by the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, the Dublin Symphony Orchestra and performed in the United-States. Derek Ball is a composer who does not hesitate to combine the Celtic harp with any kind of other instruments, voice and even computer.