Celticsprite’s Blog

The Tempestuous History of the Celtic Harp
August 28, 2013, 2:59 am
Filed under: Celtic Harp

I am flattered to share with you some good news!…The famous harpist Anne Roos, has recently featured a passage from one of my bestselling works: “The Celtic Harp” eBook, on her awesome Celtic Harp Music blogsite.

Anne Roos is considered at the top of her field as a Celtic Harpist. She is a many-faceted performer who excels as a soloist in concert, as well as with her ensemble, with her years of experience and extensive music list. 

Her recorded music has aired internationally and has been described as “lovely” and “enchanting”. Anne’s CD projects demonstrate quality musicianship and versatility. Anne’s albums are unique–Her recent releases are actually little books with CDs tucked neatly into the back page. Anne is also a published author and considered a wedding authority with her two books, “The Bride’s Guide to Musicians: Live Wedding Music Made Easy and Affordable” and “The Musician’s Guide to Brides”, both published by Hal Leonard Books.

Feel free to join her Celtic Club and you’ll get a special password to a page where you can download a free mp3 of a traditional Celtic tune that I recorded on solo Celtic Harp especially for this website. A new download will be posted every other month or so, along with notes about the tune.

Chris Caswell Legacy CD Project
February 11, 2013, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Celtic Harp, Memorable Data

Help keep Chris’ magnificent music and stories alive!

Music is the most generous art,
for it gives freely to all who hear.

In correspondence to my previous post “Chris Caswell: A charitable gathering for a leading Harpist and Harper” I pay tribute to the passing of Chris, who said goodbye to us on January 21, 2013.

Chris Caswell was one of the great musicians of our time. Tragically, his time with us was far too short: Chris died of cancer this January 21. Please help us create his legacy project, preserving some small part of Chris’ genius for future listeners and learners.

The Tradition

A true American-Celtic bard, Chris is one of those credited with the revival of the Celtic harp. He was a master harp builder and exquisite player on the harp, bagpipes, flute and whistle, and bodhran. His life’s repertoire was a rich mix of traditional world music, yet he always came back to Celtic music, his first love. Years ago he sought out elder harpers and pipers in Scotland and England to learn their music the old-fashioned way, at their knee. Chris passed along the genuine Celtic tradition, and added much to it, as a beloved teacher, spirited performer, and witty storyteller. He played, toured, and taught for over forty years, performing with some of the brightest names in traditional music.

The Project

Over the years he recorded many hours of brilliant music. We, his friends, want to bring that music to light. Our plan is to collect and remaster select recordings and produce a deluxe double-CD album, with a bonus booklet filled with Chris’ own poems, stories, and lore.

Chris envisioned a quartet of CDs, each thematically based on an element: earth, air, water, and fire. The first came out in 2001: Holy Wood, evoking earth. Fire… well, he didn’t get that far in his design. But he did plan two, air and water: The Brightening Air and The Well at the End of the World. 
In his notes for them, Chris wrote of being a very young man, sitting amongst the archives of folklorist Peter Kennedy in Devon, England, and hearing Alan Stivell: “I began to really listen to the harp. There is indeed a bardic mantle. It isn’t given, and it’s not taken. It settles. For whatever reason, it settled on me. Forty years later, I am still listening. The two albums I’m about to record are the results, so far, of that long listening.”
In addition to bringing out the two new albums Chris began work on, we plan to reprint Holy Wood as well as his lovely holiday album, Celtic Tidings. All these recordings, old and new, also will be available on CD Baby, and via Chris’ own web site. It’s our hope that we can generate a modest income stream to help Roxanne Caswell, his widow, and to repay those people who ordered a new Caswell harp, but didn’t receive one when he became ill.
Any amount — $15, $50, or $500 — will help in this undertaking.
You’re invited to join in the chorus of Chris’ ever-continuing song.

How You Can Help

1. Donate as your heart wishes, and your assets allow. For contributions of $35 and over, you’ll receive a deluxe double-CD set when released.

2. Spread the word about this campaign. Chris touched thousands of lives. Let ‘em know what’s up. Forward this link with a short personal email to your friends. Share this page on Facebook, Twitter, through music blogs and lists.

  “A life lived for music is an existence spent wonderfully.” L. Pavarotti

“Producing this Chris Caswell recording in his memory is a great idea. He was a wonderful musician and a wonderful friend.” — Robin Williamson, harper, songwriter, storyteller. (Chris was an integral member of Robin Williamson and his Merry Band in the ’70s.)
“Chris’ most marvelous contribution was rooting into and revealing the deep spiritual, mythic underpinnings of the Celtic harp and its music.” — Patrick Ball, harper and theater artist.
“Whether we were dowsing around long-forgotten stone circles on an isolated hillside or playing for thousands of people in concert halls, he was always so open and comfortably himself. I feel blessed to have known him — such a playful and brilliant person — and to have called him a true friend.” — Bonnie Rideout, fiddler. (Chris toured and recorded with Bonnie.)
“I shed a tear here in Glasgow, Scotland, and remember all the wonderful shared times at Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle Camp and on many other occasions.” — Alasdair Fraser, fiddler. (Chris taught and performed at Valley of the Moon.)
“When I needed manly men to record Song of the Suburban Shaman, Danny, Chris, and David Morris formed a ‘lusty chorus chanting hymns in praise of Thor.’ Chris howled manfully, and overdubbed layers of bodhran parts that perfectly expressed the spiritual disintegration of the weekend warriors.” — Holly Tannen, traditional singer, folklorist, and songwriter. (Chris and Danny played on her album, Rime Of The Ancient Matriarch.)
Click on some of the team member profiles, below, to learn about our personal connections with Chris. You are invited to leave recollections of your own on the Comments page.

Chris’ Gift to You

Listen to Chris playing on our gallery page.
Click here for a free download of “Jenny Plucks Pears” from Holy Wood, the first album in this series (to download, right click on a PC, or control-click on a Mac).
Search youtube for “clarsar” to hear and see Chris play, and get four free first harp lessons.
Read Chris’ obituary and an article about his harp making via the links below. 
And our special gratitude to Daniel Schoenfeld, Irish musician and winemaker, who donated his legendary Wild Hog Vineyard wine to the cause.

Related Source: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/chris-caswell-legacy-cd-project

The Legacy of Chris Caswell – A Public Tribute Concert – February 4, 2013
January 25, 2013, 2:21 pm
Filed under: Celtic Harp, Influential Musicians, Memorable Data

"The Celtic Harp" by Eliseo Mauas Pinto

Greetings to you all ! ☼

My New Ebook is already published!

Today is a special date, not only because it is Lugnasadh, but also because I am  celebrating  the 25th Anniversary of my first Live Performance along with my Salvi lever harp. 
A memorable date it was indeed, since it was the first time a celtic harp did sound in Buenos Aires; and with which I played by the way, original and arranged traditional tunes as a founding member of the “Poitín” line-up, the first celtic folk group ever established in Argentina. A nice event indeed for the occasion of the celebrations of the Lugnasadh Festival.

So what a worthier way to join this celebration but with the edition of a book about the “Celtic Harp”?…= :o)

“The Celtic Harp” is a very interesting quick guide not only approaching to questions regarding the origins of its name, its history and revival, but also to the surviving types,suggested Celtic Harpists and a list of related external links.

A very useful source indeed for all those interested in getting acquainted with this ancient instrument so related to the enchanting music of airs, songs, and jingling dance tunes. 

I hope you will be able to experience with this information much of the same evocative feeling I had while writing the book,the very emotional sense deep rooted in  the everlasting Celtic spirituality of the harp.

More than a compilation of useful information for all those interested in exploring the magical world  of the Celtic harp, this book is almost a labour of love,and my public recognition  for all those pleasant hours it gave to meand the portals I was able to trespass thanks to it .

Therefore the book is for FREE so you may download it thoroughly from this link  my Author’s Page on Smashwords.

I hope you’ve shared my passion and felt the wish to trace the same sacred paths  that lead us to a world of crystal sounds,a world enlightened by the vivid bonfires of love and remembrance of our ancients.

Let the Celtic Spirit keep on flaming on our souls… 
 Bliss and blessings to you all!

About Thormahlen Harps, Hear them played !
July 12, 2012, 1:29 am
Filed under: Celtic Harp, Celtic Instruments
I am flattered to share with you this awesome video about “Thormahlen Harps”. Settled in Oregon, USA, they are makers of  fine and  elegant lever harps available in five models to suit the needs of the player, including the beginning student, the therapeutic musician, the Irish player, the teacher and the professional entertainer. All harps have 34-36 strings with a warm, well defined bass and a brilliant, clear treble that will encourage your playing and enhance your sound. 

Here are some details about Thormahlen Harps and you can hear Sharon Thormahlen play the same tune on the 3 models of harps that we make (The Swan, The Cygnet and The Serenade), made out of a variety of woods (8 harps in all). For more information about our harps, visit http://www.thorharp.com

Here is a list of the harps played on the video clip
1.Maple Cygnet/Spruce, Folk Gut Strings
2.Bubinga Cygnet/redwood veneered Spruce, Folk Gut Strings
3.Koa Swan, Cedar veneered Spruce, Folk Gut Strings
4.Cherry Cygnet, Cedar veneered Spruce, Nylon Strings
5.Walnut Cygnet, Cedar, Folk Gut Strings
6.Cherry Swan, Spruce, Nylon Strings
7.Serenade, Mahogany, Nylon Strings
8.Maple Swan, Spruce, Nylon Strings

Suggested Albums: Moya Brennan and Cormac De Barra – "Voices and Harps"- 2011
September 11, 2011, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Celtic Harp, Suggested Albums

(Official Press)

Moya Brennan and Cormac De Barra both come from large musical families in Ireland and their mutual admiration for each other naturally developed into a stimulating musical relationship.

Moya and Cormac will be holding an exclusive Voices & Harps workshop in Donegal in June. See the WORKSHOP PAGE for full details

Their new album, Voices & Harps, is the culmination of their friendship and creative synergy over the past decade.

Moya Brennan, the First Lady of Celtic Music, and virtuoso harpist Cormac De Barra both come from large musical families in Ireland and their mutual admiration for each other naturally developed into a stimulating musical relationship.

Their new album, Voices & Harps, is the culmination of their friendship and creative synergy over the past decade. They combine the simplicity, depth and beauty of the extraordinary skills which make them unique in their own field. Voices and Harps unveils a new chapter in their partnership.

Voices & Harps CD

Voices & Harps CD/Download bundle

Grammy Award® winner Moya Brennan is the singer of Clannad as well as having a successful solo career. She has sung on most of the world’s great stages and has collaborated with many notable artists including Bono, The Chieftains, Bruce Hornsby, and Robert Plant. Among her movie credits is her collaboration (and co-writing of the end title song) with Hans Zimmer on King Arthur. She is also part of the female traditional group, T with the Maggies.

Cormac De Barra is renowned internationally as a versatile harp virtuoso. He continually pushes the boundaries of the Irish harp through his work with a wide array of artists, including Hazel O’Connor, Julie Feeney and Clannad. Cormac also tours and records with his brothers Fionán and Éamonn in the family group, Barcó. Besides his busy performing schedule he regularly gives workshops and masterclasses around the world.

Moya & Cormac performed on RTÉ’s Lughnasa Live, a celebration of the ancient Irish Celtic Festival festival of Lughnasa on Sunday July 31st.
See video.

Track List

listen 1. My Match Is A Makin’ (Tá Mo Chleamhnas Á Dhéanamh) Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 3:50
listen 2. She Moved Through The Fair Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 4:52
listen 3. An Seanduine Dóite Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 3:36
listen 4. Casadh Mo Chroí Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 2:34
listen 5. Crann Úll Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 4:06
listen 6. Carolan’s Concerto Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 2:25
listen 7. Longing To See You Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 3:49
listen 8. Bean Dubh A’ Ghleanna Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 2:09
listen 9. Táim Breoite Go Leor Moya Brennan, Caormac de Barra, Cormac De Barra 5:34
listen 10. Go Brách Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra 3:09
listen 11. The Streets Of Derry

New Video Release: "Annwn"
August 14, 2011, 12:12 am
Filed under: Bran, Celtic Harp, Celtic Symbolism, Memorable Data

Greetings to you all …

I share with you this recent release on video of a tune of my own … I composed this tune on praise of the “Annwn”, which is the “Otherworld” in Welsh mythology. Ruled by Arawn, or much later by Gwyn ap Nudd, it was essentially a world of delights and eternal youth where disease is absent and food is ever-abundant. It later became Christianised and identified with the land of souls that had departed this world.

In the First Branch of the Mabinogi, entitled Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, the eponymous prince offends Arawn, ruler of Annwn, by baiting his hunting hounds on a stag that Arawn’s dogs had brought down. In recompense he exchanges places with Arawn for a year and defeats Arawn’s enemy Hafgan. Meanwhile, Arawn rules Dyfed. During this year, Pwyll does not sleep with Arawn’s wife, earning himself gratitude from Arawn. On his return, Pwyll becomes known by the title Penn Annwn, “Head (or Ruler) of Annwn.”

In Culhwch and Olwen, an early Welsh Arthurian tale, it is said God gave Gwyn ap Nudd control over the demons lest “this world be destroyed.” He led the Wild Hunt. A Christian story tells of the Welsh Saint Collen entering Gwyn’s palace to banish him with holy water.

The early medieval Welsh poem Preiddeu Annwfn (“The Spoils of Annwn”), found in the Book of Taliesin, describes how King Arthur leads an expedition to Annwn to seek a cauldron. According to the poem: ” Three shiploads we went; save seven none returned.”

This track was recorded along with Xandru Reguera (co-founder of my folk based band BRAN) and was included on the digital edition of BRAN’s EP – “ANNWN”


Eliseo Mauas Pinto: irish lap harp, keyboards

Xandru Reguera: Acoustic Guitar, Sound Engineering

Recorded at Two Hound Studios

This is a Remastered Version from original tracks ( 2010 )

I am specially grateful to my Spanish friend Diosa(E.M.R.) for her collaboration on the edition and layout art of this video, which includes two of her own photomanipulation works plus free footages and the inclusion of excerpts of the film Legend [1985] by Ridley Scott (director’s cut 2pts)