Konghou (Chinese Harp), Xiang Fei Bamboo

According to the Harp Spectrum,

“In the 20th century, a new demand arose for a national instrument rooted in ancient times, yet still contemporary. In 1964, Konghou was revived in Shenyang, China, and during the 1980s several musical instrument factories in China began to design and produce a new type of Konghou combining the Guzhang (koto, like a movable-bridge zither), Pipa (lute) and Qin (mandolin), and utilizing the modern technology of the pedal harp.”

I feel different – Chromatic harp

The chromatic, aka cross-strung harp, in action! Instruments include chromatic harp, djembé, keyboard, electronic drum & bass, and tin-whistle. “I feel different” composed by harpist Anne Vanschothorst, performed & arranged here by Raphaël Pinel.

Alan Stivell – Tri martolod

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hylSFXW0CXA

One of the world’s great folk harp pioneers, still going strong.   And that harp is simply amazing.   If you want to hear all the truly unique sounds Alan Stivell can get a harp to make, go out and buy one of his CD’s.  You won’t regret it.

Alan Stivell: Brian Boru on gold harp

Very cool version of Brian Boru’s, from the master of Celtic fusion himself.  I had only ever heard (and played) the traditional march version of this tune before, but it works surprisingly well as a song.  Complete lyrics are included below (they’re pretty much identical on all the online lyrics sites, including the notes in French and English, presumably taken from the liner notes of the CD).

The Harp Blog posted Brian Boru’s as a tune of the month way back when, which you can download here.  Following the link to Chubby Sparrow Music will take you to a midi version of the tune (along with a bunch of other free trad Celtic midi files).

A summary of Alan Stivell’s career and influence on Celtic & harp music can be found here (and of course the standard Wiki entry, here).  Alain’s official website is www.alan-stivell.com (trilingual in Breton, French & English).

LYRICS:

Marv Brian Boru ‘rein buhez ‘n Iwerzhon
Dihan e Bro-Ulad ha ba ker Dulenn
Undedan tiegezhn unded an dud-man
Unded ar Gelted hag an douar

Maraiodh Brian Boru chun beatha nna heireann
Siochain in gcuige Uladh agus i mbaile ‘cliath
Aontacht an teaghlaigh, aontacht na dtuath
Aontacht an domhain is na gCeiltteach

Diouzh nerzh ar c’hadou da nerzh an ehan
Diouzh ‘bed doueek bennozh ar c’haroud
O neart an chata go neart na siochana
On brith dhiaga beannacht an ghra

Duirt siad gurbh i seo sochraide ar muintire
Gur choir duinn bheith sollunta fein
Biodh nach Raibh bronach

Marv Brian Boru ‘rein buhez ‘n Iwerzhon
Dihan e Bro-Ulad ha ba ker Dulenn
Undedan tiegezhn unded an dud-man
Unded ar Gelted hag an douar

Ta muid ‘nos ha haimsire
Go hairid an ghrian
Agus thogh muid ait bhog cois abhann.

NOTES:

Brian Boru :
Nom d’un chef irlandais qui fut vainqueur posthume des Vikings.
Brian Boru, chef de Tuath, chassa les Danois du Munster,
conquit le Leinster, devint le roi-suprème de l’Irlande en 1002
et battit les Vikings en 1014 à Clontharf.
Mais il fut assassiné dans la soirée par un fuyard alors qu’il se reposait.

Transmuter l’énergie de guerre en énergie de paix.
Mort brian Boru donnant vie en Irlande
Paix en Ulster et dedans Dublin
Unis les Celtes et la terre !
De la force des combats à celle de la paix
Du monde divin, bénédiction de l’amour.
ALAN STIVELL.

They said that we were shameless celebrating our love
With devastation all around us
We are like the weather, specially the sun
And we choose a soft place by the river.
CAITLIN MAUDE, from Amhran grà Vietnam.

The 38-String Delight: Heartland’s New Light-Weight Carbon Fiber Harp

38 String Delighty by Heartland HarpsThis is so totally going to be my next harp – as soon as we finish paying off the addition. Well, maybe this and a nice little Lewandowski Romanesque harp on the side. Hey, I can dream, can’t I? (Click on the picture to visit the Delight on the Heartland site).

Ten pounds! Just think of how much easier it would be, trudging across fields and golf courses to get to the bride’s ideal wedding location. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still love my wooden harps, but this way I get to love them in nice safe, dry locations. With a nigh-indestructible harp, just think of the possibilities! Oh, the places we’ll go… I’d definitely pick another colour than black though. Maybe midnight blue, or neon purple, or ocean green.

(Apologies to my fellow Canadians re: the spelling of “fiber”, but that’s the way it’s spelled on all the American sites; exceptions must be made sometimes to avoid confusion!)

Andy McKee – Into the Ocean

The harp guitar is one of the few oddball hybrid instruments to stand the test of time. Depending on when you mark the first occurence of a “true” harp guitar, it’s been around in one form or another since the 18th/19th century (also in early forms as the “harp lute”).

For more info:
harpguitars.net – As its name suggests, a site dedicated to harp guitars. Includes explorations into the instrument’s history and the entymology of the term “harp guitar”.
myspace.com/andymckee2 – More music by Andy McKee. See also Andy’s profile at Candy Rat records.