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The Celtic Harp in Brief - Part Two

Concerning celtic Spain, it is difficult to assure the existence of a musical tradition dedicated to the celtic harp , something so complex as to track celtic influences in the Galician and Asturian melodies that much external influence have received. Anyway, what we do know is , that Celts still have the children of their children settled down in Cantabria and Galicia, as also the Irish retain the legend about the Galician bard Amergin and his harp; related often to the legend of Breoghan. 

Anyway, certain characters enlisted to wake up the contemporary celtic folk tiping the cords of the harp so much praised by the galician bard Eduardo Pondal. In Galicia the work of Emilio Cao (displayed in the above pic) stands out in first instance, whose “Fonte do Araño”album was introduced by Alan Stivell, breton musician who along with his father revitalized not only breton folk of their roots but also its harp, designed in the decade of the 30 and finished on April of the 53. In November of the 84 Alan adds a new type of harp according to his own design, one is a harp made of acrylic transparency and electroacoutic magnetic system with metal chords and with crystal pick ups , which accompanies him concerts since then. Emilio Cao owns several albums already soloists, like “Cartas Mariñas” , dedicated to the work of the poet Manuel Antonio, and " Simbad in Galicia"..

Also in Galicia the figure of Rodrigo Romaní stands out, latter memeber of the Milladoiro group, whose spaning work has taken to the Galician melodies not only throughout Europe but till the United States, where it’s work was published " Galicia not tempo" and " Castellum Honesti" , and in Buenos Aires,Argentina, while touring in 1991 and 1996. In Wales we can emphasize the work carried out by the brothers Gwyndaf and Dafydd Roberts of the folk band Ar Log. In the Isle of Man to Charles Guard, that reflects in a wonderful album " Avanging an Bright" the melodies from that place sheltered by Mannanan Mac Lir (celtic sea god). 

Concernig to Asturias, outstands Fernando Largo, former member of the successful asturian group Beleño and whose art we can trace in several collaborations next to Xuacu Amieva, awarded Asturian piper of the Macallam Prize in Brittany and next to the group folc " Llan de Cubell" whose piper, Flavio Rodriguez Benito used to visit us in Buenos Aires in the past. And as always, as far as harps one talks about, it could not forget about a female character... In this case the asturian Herminia Alvarez, former member of the folc group Trasgu; very good musical arranger and singer. By the way other female harpist, that we cannot forget to mention is the Canadian Loreena Mc Kennitt ,singer and compser gifted with a very particular art that weaves poetry Indo-European folklore and instrumental arrangements that were given the category of " new celtic-new age harpist". The musician , poet and storyteller ,Robin Williamson, have dedicated great part of his work to revitalize the Bardic tradition of the gaélica harp.

Also " has published two beautiful albums; Legacy of the Scottish Harpists 1 and 2" in the 80 decade and recently his " Celtic Harp, Airs And-Dance Tunes" where he recreates old compiled melodies of Scotland for the harp. Also, in Scotland it is recommendable the work done by the duet of harpists and female singers " Sileas" and the untiring dedication for the " clairseach" (Scottish harp of gut cords) of Alison Kinnaird, promoter of its resurgence.

 In Ireland Grainne Yeats reassumes, as I do believe, the masters and technique of the old harpists, their songs in gaelic and their musical performance, she plays on harps constructed according to models of the XVII and XIV centuries, that have been reflected in memorable works like " The Harpers Festival" , whose melodies wer compiled in 1792 as works of T.O' The Carolan, most prolific of century XVIII. It has been avoided, by the character of compendium of this article, many other harpists compromised in the goal of maintaining a musical tradition alive. Those who know me please accept my apologies, and those who do not, it is my desire that you keep up counting the list of celtic by generations to come ...

You may find further information about this marvellous instrument and it's history on my eBook "The Celtic Harp" Now Available at Amazon.com!

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