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:
Sharp lines, pure elegance of shapes carved in matter, interlacing and dragon sculptures at the top: Richard van Rhijn's harp seems to come straight from the heart of Celtic legends. And like in legends, a secret surrounds the magical instrument. Eighty centimetres high, the smallest harp played on stage during the recent Rencontres Internationales de Harpe Celtique has a name: Airéelle1. Twenty-five kilos but only nineteen metal strings. One more clue to decipher the undecipherable: the harp is made in stone. (more…)
Almost thirty years that the Dinan Rencontres Internationales de Harpe Celtique has been organised (read the post and see Myrdhin's interview on the subject). Forty-five musicians from all over the world came to the recent festival and performed one after the other all along the four big evenings. The public was invited to a wide range of colours, of forms and sound ambiances ever created. A distinct musical world exists behind each harp, behind each musician, like the instrument diversity presented on stage. The Celtic harp is rich with those differences.
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.
Ten years ago, for its 20th anniversary, the Rencontres Internationales de Harpe Celtique ("International Celtic Harp Meeting") of Dinan in Brittany already impressed by inviting about twenty - all male - harp players. To celebrate its 30th edition, it's not thirty but more than forty musicians who are invited to the next Meeting. This year, the festival complies with an almost exemplary mixing of the genders as well as with an international, intergenerational, "intermusical" mix of artists in order to bring more people together. From the 10th to the 14th of July, the rendezvous of Celtic harp players will be in Dinan. (more…)