Medieval Harp virtuoso Simon Chadwick needs no introduction to the Wighton audience. As Musician in Residence, harp tutor and hard working secretary he was a mainstay of Friends of Wighton for many years. Since he moved to Armagh in 2018 though we have kept in touch. He has been sorely missed, so it is a particular delight to welcome him on the 3rd.
A Chadwick recital is always a treat and an adventure. During the last year’s lockdowns, Simon has been working on old Irish harp tunes from the Bunting collection, finding unusual tunes, and unusual versions of better known tunes. He will play some of them for you on Wednesday including some with interesting connections to versions in the Wighton collection.
We are delighted that the wonderful Karen Marshalsay is including the Wighton in her album launch tour.
Karen is a master of all three Scottish harps – the warm sounding modern gut-strung lever harp, the clear ringing wire-strung clarsach of the Highlands and Gaelic culture, and the Baroque bray harp with its buzzing sitar-like. The new CD The Road To Kennacraig shows off her skill and musicality beautifully.
With a particular interest in playing pipe music on the harp, Karen has worked with Allan MacDonald, of the famous Glenuig piping brothers, featuring in his acclaimed pibroch concerts, including the Edinburgh International Festival’s Herald Angel Award-winning From Battle Lines to Bar Lines series in 2004. She also featured in the National Piping Centre’s Ceòl na Piòba concert in 2013 and has worked with African, Paraguayan and Indian musicians on multi-cultural projects including Yatra, which premiered at the Edinburgh Mela in 2008. More recently she guested with the Russian String Orchestra, playing her own compositions, during the Edinburgh Festival in 2018.
As well as appearing in solo concerts, Karen is currently a member of Irish folk music legend, flute and whistle master and singer, Cathal McConnell’s trio. She has also produced new works for Celtic Connections’ New Voices series, Hands up for Trad’s Distil showcase concerts, and Drake Music Scotland, and she was Composer in Residence with Harps North West in 2016.
Karen is available for interview; please contact Rob Adams on 0131 556 2264/07724 876867
Saturday 22nd June, 11am (£5, doors open 10.30, tea/coffee available for £1 donation)
Simon Chadwick needs little introduction to Wighton audiences. He is, of course, one of the most important experts on the history and traditions of the early Irish harp and is pivotal to the current international revival. He was also for several years the Friends of Wighton Secretary and Wighton harp tutor and has been sorely missed since he move to Armagh last year.
The Concert is, appropriately, “The Music of Carolan” : 18th century “baroque Irish” tunes, anecdotes and stories from the most famous of the old Irish harpers, Turlough Carolan. Born in 1670, died in 1738, composed hundreds of tunes for his aristocratic patrons, many of which are still played today.
2pmWorkshop (£5): For all instrumentalists, harpers, listeners, and singers even! We will look at Carolan’s music in some of the books in the Wighton Collection, learn a few tunes and talk about how Carolan’s music fits (or doesn’t fit) into traditional music.
Fraya Thomsen is heralded as a “leading female Scottish harpist and composer with the cosmic touch… free and wild…” – City Life Dundee
Taking influences from songwriters such as Ani DiFranco and Billy Bragg and combining it with the Scottish sensibilities that she learnt in her native Highlands of Scotland, Fraya has worked as a musician in a wide diversity of settings from international harp and roots festivals with The Duplets, to musician in residence with Feis Rois and award winning film/dance/art composer.
This tour sees her striding forth in a solo capacity and features music from her 2017 Celtic Connections composition ‘Community and Stardust’ described as “a musical and rhetorical triumph, a coherent argument beautifully structured” – David Francis, TRACS, and “…incredibly musical and incredibly thoughtful” Phil Cunningham
Last minute change of plans for the 1st November lunchtime concert!
Sylvia Crawford. Photo: M Ó Graham. Courtesy www.orielarts.com
Lorraine Wilson will now be doing the lunchtime concert on Wednesday 7th February 2018. Sylvia Crawford, from Armagh, has stepped in at short notice to play some tunes on harp and fiddle for us on Wednesday 1st November at 1.15pm. Sylvia teaches and plays fiddle, piano and historical Irish harp. She is currently researching the music and traditions of an eighteenth century Irish harper and fiddler from Co. Armagh, Patrick Quin, and she will play some of his tunes on a copy of his harp.
Sylvia has been working with Irish singer, Pádraigín Ní Úallacháin, and Sylvia’s harp music and research features on Pádraigín’s 2017 online project, Oriel Arts
The concert is at 1.15pm on Wednesday, 1st November. Admission is free, and all are welcome.
This is first chance for us to enjoy a performance from our own Simon Chadwick since he appeared in the BBC documentary “Scotland’s Treasures” and was nominated for the prestigious “Tutor of the Year” accolade at the Scots Trad Music Awards!
Simon will bring along the big Irish harp and will play a selection of traditional Scottish and Irish harp tunes found in the old music books from the Wighton Collection, from the baroque delights of Carolan to a West Highland pibroch.
Simon has lived in Fife for 10 years now, and quickly became involved in the Scottish traditional music scene in Dundee with the Friends of Wighton. He had been interested in historical Scottish and Irish music before then, through his archaeological work on the ancient harp traditions.
“I love the way that Scottish music is intensely community-oriented and personal, yet has a depth and sophistication rivalling anything from elsewhere.”
The concert is on Weds 1st March at 1.15 pm in the Wighton Centre, Dundee Central Library, DD1 1DB. Admission is free.
Come and have a go at playing a medieval clarsach, in Dundee’s Wighton Centre, upstairs in the Central Library.
The old Gaelic harp of Scotland and Ireland is very different and much more ancient than the modern clarsach or Celtic harp you might be more familiar with. The ancient clarsach was shared between Ireland and Scotland from medieval times down to the 18th century.
The best known examples are iconic museum exhibits: the famous Brian Boru harp displayed in Trinity College Dublin, and the beautiful Queen Mary harp in the National Museum in Edinburgh. The Brian Boru harp is shown on the Guinness label!
Historical Gaelic harps are rare, and are hardly ever heard nowadays. Simon Chadwick is a historical musician and a leading authority in the old Scottish and Irish harp traditions, and he will bring beautiful historic replicas of the ancient harps into Dundee for this come-and-try session.
Simon, an inspiring teacher, leads a regular harp class in the Wighton Centre in Dundee, and there are now spaces for new participants and harps available to rent. So come along on Saturday 10th to explore the oldest strands of Scottish and Irish music.
For the first Cappuccino concert of 2016, Simon Chadwick will be in the Wighton Centre playing a selection of historical Scottish clarsach music using the beautiful decorated replica of the medieval “Queen Mary” harp.
The event will be held in the Wighton Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library. Doors open at 10.30am when coffee and newspapers are served, and the music will run for an hour starting at 11am.
Simon will play a selection of tunes associated with the famous medieval harp, from medieval variation-sets traditionally associated with the Lords of the Isles, who may have commissioned the Queen Mary harp in the medieval Hebrides, through to 18th century airs once played on the Queen Mary harp by the Robertsons of Lude, when it was preserved by them at their house near Blair Atholl in Perthshire in the early 1700s.
The Friends of Wighton group will welcome the Scottish Traditional Music Awards to Dundee by inviting visiting and local music lovers to take a close-up look at the fascinating Wighton Collection and enjoy a live music sessionat the same time.
The Centre will be open from 2pm to 5pm on Friday 4th December and from 10am -12.15pm on Saturday 5th December. Books will be on display and Wighton tutors and committee members will be there to sing, play and answer questions!
The Wighton Heritage Centre was opened on 24th November 2003. Located upstairs in Dundee Central Library, it provides a dedicated space for the storage and display of the internationally important Wighton Collection. 700 volumes of old Scottish music were collected together in the early 19th century by Dundee merchant Andrew Wighton, and were bequeathed to the city after his death.
The Wighton books with other donations and acquisitions, are now kept in glass-fronted bookcases in the Wighton Centre. The Centre also acts as a bright, atmospheric performance and study centre, allowing scholars to access the riches of the collection, and providing a lovely performance space for music and other events.
As well as a monthly Cappuccino Concert, and a free Wednesday lunchtime recital every month, the Friends of Wighton run classes in traditional Scottish music every week: Scots song, Gaelic song, fiddle, whistle and clarsach (Scottish harp).
The Friends also work towards the conservation and cataloguing of the collection of books, and have made some important acquisitions to add to the collection. They are currently fundraising to conserve rare music books from the collection of Sir Jimmy Shand and visitors will be able to contribute. Jimmy’s musical taste was exemplary, as shown by the lovely 18th and 19th century manuscripts in his collection. Rumour has it that one or two of the Shand books, currently not on public display, might make an appearance at the Open Days!