The Clarsach and me
The first time I saw a harp right up close, was in 1994. I was camping in England and heard this amazing sound just outside my tent. I went out and found a burly bearded English man playing his harp right there on the grass! I was mesmerised and decided right then and there I had to have one! I already played the guitar and piano, but the harp stole my musical heart and it was an instant mission to have one of my own.
I asked him where I could get one like his. He gave me some very sketchy directions about a place in Scotland near Inverness. So next holidays, I took the train up to Inverness and made enquiries at the local tourist info centre. I got the same sketchy directions, and there were no buses going out there so I had to hitch a ride, but miraculously managed to find my way to ‘Starfish Designs’ just out of Inverness and hired my first harp. What a happy day!
Being of free spirit and playing piano and guitar already gave me a bit of a start, but I eventually decided to get some regular lessons. I moved to Scotland in 97 and found myself running a weekly session and so I had already began my journey with Scottish folk and traditional music. Finally I found the amazing Isobel Mieras who agreed to teach me.
So began my harp story.
Still taken with the sweet sound of the Clarsach (Celtic harp) and surrounded by Scottish music, I began playing airs alongside the tunes Isobel was teaching me. Scottish traditional music soon became my passion. I would take my harp along to my weekly session and enjoyed the international harp festival which happens every Easter in Edinburgh.
I now play for folk who also enjoy hearing the magical, romantic sounds of the harp within the folk scene and for special events. And I still love it! The Scottish harp and Scots song taught me scuh a lot about my heritage and whakapapa. I would encourage all New Zealanders, particularly pakeha who are descended from the early British settlers, to learn about their heritage, and through music is a very enjoyable way. I am passionate about spreading the Celtic music in New Zealand for this reason!
So if you’re keen to learn how to play or would like to hear the Celtic harp up close, give me a call.