Harpers from across Ireland have come together to release an amazing virtual performance dedicated to the frontline workers and all those affected by COVID-19.
The Irish musicians are currently at home but that didn’t stop these talented harpers from joining forces to form a virtual Music Generation Harp Collective.
Featuring 52 young harpers and four tutors from ensembles in Laois, Louth and Mayo, the performance is absolutely enchanting.
The three groups had previously been scheduled to travel to the World Harp Congress, Wales, in July 2020, where they had secured performance opportunities, including the premiere of new music by Sligo harper Michael Rooney.
The Congress, which has since been postponed until 2021, is rarely hosted so close to Ireland.
With help from tutors Siobhán Buckley (Laois), Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla (Louth), Gráinne Hambly and William Jackson (Mayo), each musician recorded their own individual performance of ‘Elizabeth Kelly’s Favourite’.
Siobhán, harper and leader of the Music Generation Laois harp programme, then combined the recordings to create a gorgeous virtual performance. The whole process, from idea to release, took just over a week.
Ordinarily, each Harp Ensemble in Laois, Louth and Mayo would meet on a regular basis to practice, play and perform. This collective effort is a way to keep music alive for the young harpers, and a way of sharing their work with friends, family and the public.
The 52 players featured in the video meet annually at the Music Generation Laois ‘Tionól for Harps and Pipes’ in November, as well as at Cairde na Crúite’s annual Harp Ensemble Day in Louth each July.
They were also scheduled to perform as a group at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2020 in Mullingar, which has also now been postponed until 2021.
There is a great sense of unity and fun among the young musicians, and pride in their ongoing promotion of the harp, our national instrument.
The last decade has seen a resurgence in harping among young people across Ireland, propelled by the work of organisations including Harp Ireland, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Cairde na Crúite and Music Generation.
This virtual performance is also a celebration of this great harp revival for our younger generation.