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Ever heard if Kenny Bostard?

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  • #78014
    Rachael Rosenbaum
    Participant

    Has anyone ever heard of a harp made by one Kenny Bostard? I found one for sale…

    #78015
    Sylvia
    Participant
    #78016
    janet-king
    Participant

    Hi Rachael, Yes, I HAVE heard of Kenny Bostard, quicken my heart!! My first folk harp ever was a Kenny Bostard, and it was very special. I owned a 30 string, and then I bought a 36 string Kenny Bostard harp, and they both were superb harps, with gorgeous sounds. However, they both broke, sadly. I forget how old they were when they broke, maybe 10 years, I dunno. The little one, the soundboard bellied up and burst, and the larger one, the neck snapped. For years I kept the “corpses” around because I had such an attachment to them. And in fact, right now, the larger harp is at the shop finally, getting a new neck. I haven’t heard it in so many years, I can hardly wait to get it back. I had someone put a new board on the small one, and it was a dud, and then the neck broke on it too… So I’m not sure what will happen with that one; my harp repair guy made me an offer, to repair it with no obligation on my part at all, which is weird, but we’ll see.

    Rachael, if you found a Kenny Bostard harp for sale, I’d recommend that you check it out carefully. I think he made extraordinary-sounding harps, but check their structure. You might be able to enlist the help of a harpmaker to fortify it without losing the sound (kind of like lining up a good vet when you adopt an animal!). If you decide not to proceed with it, let me know about it! I might be interested.

    I don’t know if Kenny Bostard is even still alive… Back then — and it must have been in the late 80’s/early 90’s — he was really difficult to deal with, because he lived off the grid, without a telephone even. We communicated via hand-written notes that were barely legible… Imagine!

    #78017
    janet-king
    Participant

    PS, I’m really not that active here on the Harp Column, so if you want to contact me, email me directly: janet@newyorkharpist.com

    I’m keen to know where you go with this, Rachael!

    Janet

    #78018
    j-goforth
    Participant

    Hello!

    I just randomly came across this board…I wanted to give some information about Kenny Bostard. I met him about 23 years ago, while I was in high school. He is still alive at 80, but has terminal cancer. He moved away from his handbuilt home/luthier workshop about 4 years ago as it was getting difficult for him to live that lifestyle on his own. He doesn’t have family, so my husband and I have become adopted caregivers during this last stage of his life.

    I believe that he made his first instrument, a harpsichord, sometime in the early 60s. He has made a variety of Middle Eastern instruments including a Quanun, as well as folk instruments like hammer dulcimers and bowed psaltery. I think he began making harps professionally sometime in the mid 70s? His last harp must have been sometime around 2002ish. I remember that he worked on a harp at a time, usually took about 5-6 weeks to complete. After harps, he made Shakuhachi flutes for a few years.

    We visit him each day, and he retains much of the meticulous nature which must have been very helpful as a luthier. However, his handwriting is probably even worse 🙂

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