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.
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 ProjectOver 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 Help1. 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