Historic wire harp TV documentary & concerts (Ireland)

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    Bonnie Shaljean on #108873

    Just to alert everyone these upcoming events in Ireland:

    Over the past year or so my partner Michael Billinge has been involved in the making of a documentary concerning the 18th-century Irish harper Denis Hempson and his harp (the “Downhill” Harp). His role has been concerned with the analysis and building of a reproduction of this 300-year-old harp (working in co-ordination with Seamus O’Kane) and “she” is now finished and ready to play. The documentary, which follows the process of the making of this harp, among other aspects, is titled “Banríon an Cheoil” (the Queen of Music). It is an Irish-language production, with subtitles in English, though portions of it will be spoken in English. It’s being made for BBC and RTÉ here in Ireland, and will be broadcast in 2010. I will post more details nearer the time.

    Part of this project also involves two concerts, to be held this coming weekend in Belfast and Derry:

    On Friday 27th November from 12 noon till 2pm in The Assembly Rooms, Waring Street, Belfast (the venue of the historic 1792 gathering of harpers) there will be a presentation and recital, in which I am taking part. Harpers appearing (first names in alphabetical order) are: Ann Heymann, Bill Taylor, Bonnie Shaljean, Nollaig Brolly, with Allan MacDonald, J.B.Vallely, Seamus O’Kane and Michael Billinge also in attendance.

    The main concert is to be held on Saturday 28th November starting 8pm in the new Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin centre in Derry City (phone 044 (0)2871 264 132). The international line-up includes some of the biggest names in the wire harp world. Artists appearing are (again alphabetically): Alan Stivell, Alison Kinnaird, Ann Heymann, Bill Taylor, Bonnie Shaljean, Caoimhe Cooke, Laoise Kelly, Myrdhin, Nodlaig Brolly, Paul Dooley. The singer Treasa Ní Cheannabháin will also be taking part, and the host will be Allan MacDonald.

    The concerts will be recorded, with some material being used for the television documentary, and hopefully more will be included in a possible subsequent broadcast. There may also be DVD available – again, I will keep everyone informed.

    The organisers have started a MySpace web page: http://www.myspace.com/harpconcert, though – as shown above – there are more artists playing than just those mentioned in the blurb. Please help us spread the word!

    Pat Eisenberger on #108874

    I’m going over to the MySpace page right now! Please keep us updated. I’m in the U.S. and hope that we will have any opportunity to see this documentary.

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