Early Harp Workshop
Wednesday 15th November 2006, 1.15 – 1.45pm
A rare chance to play an early clàrsach, or just watch and listen.

The monthly “Wighton harpist” series continues in Dundee Central Library’s Wighton Heritage Centre this coming Wednesday lunchtime (15th Nov), with a practical workshop.

The half-hour FREE session, led by historical harp specialist Simon Chadwick will explore the historical playing techniques of the early clàrsach. There are two ways to participate, both free of charge. Members of the public are welcome to come along on Wednesday lunchtime, to watch the session and listen to the beautiful harp music. Also, there are a few places for those who want the chance to try out a historical harp first-hand.

Our intrepid students will explore the exquisite and ancient beginner tunes used by the last of the old Gaelic harpers in the 18th century, and preserved in manuscripts ever since. The harps they will be playing on Wednesday are accurate replicas of historical instruments preserved in collections in Ireland and Scotland, including a replica of Scotland’s famous medieval Queen Mary harp with strings of silver and gold wire.

At the time of writing there is still one harp available, so if you would like to take part in the hands-on part of Wednesday’s session please book as soon as you can!

No booking is required to come and watch the session – all are welcome and admission is free.

The early clàrsach is a rare and beautiful musical instrument. It was widely played in Scotland as well as Ireland from over 1000 years ago, but it died out in the 18th century as tastes changed and Gaelic culture declined. Its place was taken by a completely different kind of harp, the neo-clarsach with gut or nylon strings, familiar from folk bands and at the Mod. however in recent years there has been a revival of interest in the original historic instrument, especially in Ireland where Simon Chadwick helps run the annual summer school “Scoil na gCláirseach” in Kilkenny. Now the Wighton Harpist project hopes to raise awareness of this ancient and noble but hidden Scottish tradition here.

For more information, photos, or to hear the sound of the early clàrsach please visit www.simonchadwick.net/wighton or call Simon on 01334 474263

Harp Music in Dundee

Free lunchtime music events in the Wighton Centre, Dundee. The next event is Wednesday 18th Oct 2006, 1.15pm.

On 4th October, Simon Chadwick presented the first in a series of lunchtime concerts and events as part of the “Wighton Harpist” residency. In the beautiful setting of the Wighton Heritage Centre, he played 17th and 18th century Gaelic music on a beautiful replica medieval harp, to an attentive and appreciative audience.

Simon is a specialist in the early clàrsach and this programme will explore and uncover some of the old Gaelic harp music hidden in Dundee Central Library’s Wighton Collection of old Scottish music books.

The books, dating from the 17th to the 19th century, were brought together in the 1840s and 50s by the Dundee merchant Andrew Wighton. After his death they were left to Dundee Library where they are now kept in a purpose-built study centre and performance space.

Simon has studied manuscripts of old Gaelic harp music from Ireland and Scotland, and is now delighted to be able to work with the old books in the Wighton Collection. “The old Gaelic harp tradition died out by the 1750s” he said, “and all that is left of it is the instruments preserved unplayable in museums, and the music hidden in old and rare books like those in the Wighton Collection”. He added: “the familiar modern clarsach, invented in the 19th century, is a completely different thing from the medieval original”

Simon plays a replica of the famous medieval “Queen Mary” harp, with strings of brass, silver and gold wire. He has been studying the tunes and techniques preserved in the old books and manuscripts for seven years, and is one of a small number of people worldwide who play the ancient Gaelic music on replica historical instruments using the original playing technique of plucking the strings with the fingernails.

“These lunchtime events every 3rd Wednesday of the month are a unique opportunity for the people of Fife, Angus and Dundee to discover an ancient Scottish Gaelic tradition”. And what’s more, they are completely free!

The programme until Christmas is as follows:

Wednesday 18th October 2006, 1.15 – 1.45pm
Illustrated talk. What is an early clàrsach anyway? Simon will present a short talk, illustrated with slides and live musical demonstrations, on the history of this prestigious instrument, its music, its players, its decline and extinction in the 19th century and its rediscovery in the 20th.

Wednesday 15th November 2006, 1.15 – 1.45pm
Workshop. A chance to play an early clàrsach, or just watch and listen. We will explore one of the first tunes taught to 18th century harp students. Please book in advance if you wish to participate in the hands on section, as there are a limited number of replica early harps available. Otherwise just turn up as usual.

Wednesday 20th December 2006, 1.15 – 1.45pm
Lunchtime Recital. Take a break from the festive frenzy with a selection of old Irish and Scottish harp music. This recital will highlight the Irish repertory and will feature a new replica of the 18th century “Downhill” harp.

All events are held in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee
Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB. Admittance Free.

For more information contact simon@simonchadwick.net or call 01334 474263

Wighton harpist website: www.simonchadwick.net/wighton

Early clàrsach lunchtime recital in Dundee.

Early clàrsach specialist Simon Chadwick is giving a free lunchtime recital in Dundee on Wednesday 4th October 2006, 1.15pm to 1.45pm. The recital will be a rare chance to hear old Irish and Scottish Gaelic harp music played on a replica medieval clàrsach.

This is the first in a new series of monthly lunchtime recitals to be held in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee City Library, and organised by the Friends of Wighton. It is also the first in a series of recitals and workshops to be given by Simon as “Wighton Harpist”.

The Wighton Collection is one of the world’s finest collections of old Scottish music books. Brought together in the 19th century by Dundee merchant Andrew Wighton, the Collection is now kept in a purpose-built centre in Dundee Central library. The Friends of Wighton has been formed to help make the Wighton Collection and the Wighton Heritage Centre more accessible to the people of Dundee, Fife and Angus. The Wighton Harpist project will run for six months and will explore old Gaelic harp music hidden within the Wighton Collection.

Simon Chadwick has studied the historical Gaelic harp traditions for seven years and helps run an annual early harp summer school in south-east Ireland. His harp, a replica of the famous medieval “Queen Mary” clàrsach, has strings of brass, silver and gold wire. He will play a selection of music from 18th century books preserved in the Wighton Collection.

The second event in the Friends’ Lunchtime Recitals series, in November, will feature Karen Hannah, fiddle, with songs from Sheena Wellington.

Event Details:

Wednesday 4th October 2006, 1.15pm to 1.45pm, Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee City Library: Simon Chadwick, early clàrsach.

Wednesday 1st November 2006, 1.15 – 1.45pm, Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library: Karen Hannah, fiddle, with songs from Sheena Wellington

For more information contact

Simon Chadwick
tel 01334 474263
email simon@simonchadwick.net
web http://www.simonchadwick.net/harp
Wighton Harpist project: http://www.simonchadwick.net/wighton

Friends of Wighton
email secretary@friendsofwighton.com
web www.friendsofwighton.com

Friends events part of Fest ‘n’ Furious.

The Friends of Wighton will be officially launched with a series of music events on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th September 2006. The events, part of the music series “Fest ‘n’ Furious”, will be held in Dundee Central Library’s Wighton Heritage Centre as well as in the Steps Theater, and Abertay University.

The Wighton Collection is one of the world’s finest collections of old Scottish music books. Brought together in the 19th century by Dundee merchant Andrew Wighton, the Collection is now kept in a purpose-built centre in Dundee Central library. The Friends of Wighton has been formed to help make the Wighton Collection and the Wighton Heritage Centre more accessible to the people of Dundee, Fife and Angus.

On Friday 29th September, from 11am, there will be a free Open Morning at the
Wighton Centre in Dundee’s Central Library where Friends will be on hand to
explain the Collection of music books. At 2pm, the distinguished scholar and singer Dr Kirsteen McCue will give a talk on the work of James Hogg, 18th century author and songwriter.

In the evening a harpsichord recital on the Wighton’s own concert grade
harpsichord will be given by David Hamilton. David will play some
rarities from the Collection and will accompany Kirsteen McCue in some songs
associated with James Hogg. The recital starts at 7.30pm, admission £5/£3.

On Saturday 30th September, the Friends of Wighton launch weekend continues
with a Gaelic Song workshop conducted by well known singer Wilma Kennedy.
Wilma is a first-rate teacher and even those with no Gaelic will enjoy the
workshop which starts at 10am in the Wighton Centre, admission £2/£1.

At 11am in the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University, Bell Street,
there is a Cappuccino Concert. Dundee singer Helen Brown, renowned both for
her golden voice and her sense of humour, will mix classical and offbeat
settings of the Songs of Robert Burns. Tickets are £5/£3, to include a cup
of coffee and browse through the papers, and pre-booking is advisable.

The excellent young ceilidh band Randan will be giving some of the tunes
from the Collection a lively airing in a free lunchtime acoustic concert in
the Steps Theatre, Central Library. Special guest is renowned singer Maureen
Jelks and the concert kicks off at 12.30.

Maureen Jelks is also the tutor for the afternoon’s Scots song workshop
which begins at 2pm in the Wighton Centre. Tickets are £2/£1 and a
fascinating and fun afternoon is guaranteed.

Also, on Wednesday 4th October, 1.15pm – 1.45pm in the Wighton Centre, Dundee Central Library, the Friends of Wighton will hold the first in their series of monthly lunchtime recitals. Featuring Simon Chadwick (early clàrsach), this recital is a rare chance to hear old irish and Scottish Gaelic harp music performed on a replica of the medieval “Queen Mary” harp with brass, silver and gold strings.

Friday 29th September

11am: Wighton Collection,Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, Free
2pm: The Wighton Talk: – Kirsteen McCue “James Hogg Revisited “, Wighton
Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, Free
7.00pm: David Hamilton (harpsichord) & Kirsteen McCue (vocals), Wighton
Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, £5 / £3

Saturday 30th September

10am: Gaelic Song Workshop with Wilma Kennedy, Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, £2 /£1
11am: Cappuccino Concert, Helen Brown sings Robert Burns, Hannah Maclure
Centre, Abertay University, £5 / £3 (includes coffee)

12.30pm: Randan, with guest artist Maureen Jelks, Steps Theatre, Dundee Central Library, Free
2pm: Scots Song Workshop with Maureen Jelks, Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, £2 /
£1

Wednesday 4th October, 1.15pm – 1.45pm, Wighton Centre, Dundee Central Library

For more information contact

The Friends of Wighton
Secretary: 01334 474263
email: secretary@friendsofwighton.org
website: http://www.friendsofwighton.org

Fest ‘n’ Furious
website: www.fest’n’Furious.co.uk
Bookings: 01382 434940
Workshops: 01382 432473

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