Description

Featuring Eilís Lavelle, Aisling Lyons, Mary Bergin, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (Bean an Tí), Gráinne Meyer, Mary McGuiggan & Pádraic Keane.

The Belfast Harp Festival, called by contemporary writers “The Belfast Harpers Assembly”, 11–14 July 1792, was a four-day event organised by merchant class Presbyterians Dr. James McDonnell, Robert Bradshaw and Henry Joy, (proprietor of the Belfast News-Letter and uncle to Henry Joy McCracken). Its purpose was to revive an interest in harp music and to collect the music of the harpers and note their style of playing for future generations. What was hoped to be a revival, proved to be a farewell to the old tradition. Eleven harpers attended. Seven were blind. The eldest, Denis Hempson (1695 -1807) from Derry, was 97. He was the only one to use the ancient way of playing with the fingernails.

By far the most important thing that happened at the festival was that a young man from Armagh named Edward Bunting (1773-1843), was employed to write down the music of the harpers, and to make notes on their instrumental techniques. He dedicated the rest of his life to collecting and preserving Irish music. He published three volumes of music, collectively known as the Ancient Music of Ireland.

They pay tribute to that event and the Bunting Collection.

Eilís Lavelle hails from County Monaghan. She has collaborated with a wide range of genres and featured on various broadcasts. Eilís is currently undertaking a PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast focusing on the Edward Bunting collection of music.

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is a multi-award-winning traditional singer and musician and was the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk singer of the year 2022. Her upbringing in Corca Dhuibhne in West Kerry saw her immersed in a rich cultural environment influencing the foundation of her distinctive vocal and instrumental sound.

Gráinne Meyer is a County Antrim based composer, harpist and pianist. Gráinne most recent winner of the World Music Competition following performances at Wales International Harp Festival 2023. She will perform with a ensemble of her local students.

Aisling Lyons is a multi-award-winning musician and composer from county Clare. She is the holder of 8 All-Ireland titles, has performed internationally and collaborated with distinguished artists and musicians in various projects.

Mary Bergin is considered the worlds greatest tin whistle player and was born into a very musical family. She began playing at an early age winning many awards in Oireachtas and Fleadh Ceoil competitions, including the All-Ireland Championships at Junior and Senior level.

Pádraic Keane was awarded TG4 Young Musician of the Year (2011). He has collaborated with various artists including Ragús, The Irish Chamber Orchestra, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, RTE Concert and Symphony Orchestras and many more.

Mary McGuiggan hails from County Derry and has been dancing since she was four years old, learning her dance steps from May Allen. Mary has had success in competition at local, Ulster and All-Ireland levels.

Part of Belfast TradFest>>

Tickets & Pricing
  • Admission £17.50
Wed, 24 Jul 2024 8:00 - 11:00pm

Crescent Arts Centre

  • 2-4 University Road
  • Belfast
  • Antrim
  • BT7 1NH

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Crescent Arts Centre

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Belfast TradFest

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  • Antrim

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