On Wednesday 7th February, 1.15-1.45pm, the Wighton Centre in Dundee Central Library is hosting a free lunchtime concert with the traditional singer Barbara Dymock.

Barbara, who is a doctor, learned traditional Scots songs at her grandparents knees, and has been performing since the 1970s. She sings in duos with the likes of Christine Kydd, or Maureen Jelks and in the a capella group Palaver, but Wednesday’s recital will see her performing solo, innovative airings of traditional songs. Merging dynamism, power and grace, delivered with fun, passion, pedigree, Barbara is a fresh veteran of the Scottish music world!

Forthcoming events at the Wighton Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee DD1 1DB:

Wednesday 7th February, 1.15-1.45pm
Friends of Wighton Lunchtime Concert
Barbara Dymock – Traditional Scots Song

Saturday 17th February, 2pm
Friends of Wighton Saturday talk

Wednesday 21st February, 1.15-1.45
Wighton Harpist Lunchtime Series
Demonstration-recital with early clàrsach, by Simon Chadwick

Gaelic Singer Anne Lorne Gillies’s presentation on Saturday afternoon in the Steps Theater, Dundee, was a great success. Ann spoke and sang for an hour and a half, delighting the audience with her huge repertory of songs and her personal reminiscences of the great singers she learned them from. She spoke at length about the different types of Gaelic song, and the different places and times when they were sung, illustrating every other sentence with a verse or a few lines of powerful, beautiful singing. She also showed some very interesting photographs from her personal collection and from the Shaw Smith collection on Canna.

After the presentation was over there was an enthusiastic queue to buy copies of her book “Songs of Gaelic Scotland”, which Ann was happy to sign and discuss with each person.

The Friends of Wighton would like to thank Ann for a wonderful presentation, and also many thanks to Kevin Bree and David Kett for their work setting up in the theater.

There will be another Saturday Talk next month, 2pm on 17th February. And the Wighton Lunchtime Concert on Wednesday 7th February at 1.15pm will be given by the singer Barbara Dymock.

The famous singer Anne Lorne Gillies is coming to Dundee next Saturday to talk about Gaelic songs, sign copies of her book and maybe even sing a wee song or two!

The event, part of the Friends of Wighton Saturday Talks Series, will be held in Dundee Central Library at 2pm. Tickets will be available on the door for £5 (or £3 for Friends of Wighton members)

Anne is a Scottish singer, songwriter, broadcaster, author and academic. In a musical career spanning more than thirty years she has sung throughout the world and made many albums, radio and television series.

Her book “Songs of Gaelic Scotland” gives words, translations, musical transcriptions of over 150 songs, all placed within their musical, literary, social and historical contexts. Though meticulously researched, the book is written in an unpretentious, accessible and entertaining style which reflects not only Anne’s life-time as a professional singer and communicator, but also the informal, supportive atmosphere of the many master-classes and workshops in which she has passed on Gaelic songs to the next generation of singers during her long and distinguished career.

The next event in the monthly “Wighton harpist” series will be a lunchtime recital on Wednesday 17th January 2007, 1.15-1.45pm in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB. Admittance is Free.

Simon Chadwick will be playing ancient Scottish Gaelic harp music, on his replica of the medieval “Queen Mary” harp with gold and silver wire strings.

The music at this recital will mostly be taken from old Scottish music books in the Wighton Collection, including James Oswald’s “Caledonian Pocket Companion” published in the 1740s, and Daniel Dow’s “Collection of Ancient Scots Music” published in 1776.

Other forthcoming events in the Wighton Centre, promoted by the Friends of Wighton, include the famous Gaelic singer Anne Lorne Gillies on Saturday, January 20 at 14:00, and a lunchtime recital on Wednesday 7th February at 1.15.

Today’s lunchtime recital at the Wighton Centre in Dundee Central Library was an excellent performance on recorders and harpsichord. Angus musicians Isobel Luke and Ethel Allan performed a delicious half-hour set of Scottish tunes taken from rare 18th century music books in the collection.

Highlights included a couple of James Oswald’s “Airs for the Seasons” played on the recorder, and a solo harpsichord sonata by J.C. Luther.

The sound of the Wighton Harpsichord, a beautifully decorated double-manual French style instrument built in 1983, filled the Centre and blended delightfully with Ethel’s expressive recorder-playing.

For more info please visit www.friendsofwighton.com or phone 01334 474263.

The photo shows Isobel Luke playing the harpsichord.

Harpsichord Recital.

The Wighton Heritage Centre’s beautiful harpsichord can be heard as well as seen at the Friends of Wighton free lunchtime recital on Wednesday 6th December at 1.15pm.

The well known Angus musician Isobel Luke will play a rarely heard keyboard sonata by the 18th Century composer John Christian Luther. Scottish tunes from the James Oswald and George Thomson collections will be played on the recorder by Ethel Allan.

The recital runs from 1.15-1.45pm and takes place in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee.

Forthcoming events in the Wighton include an illustrated talk on the Scottish Fiddle by maestro Paul Anderson on Saturday 16th December at 2pm, admission £5/£3(FoW members), while Wighton Harpist Simon Chadwick presents “An antidote to Xmas Muzak” on Wednesday 20th at 1.15pm.

The regular Saturday morning song workshop continues this Saturday (9th December) at 11pm with Maureen Jelks and Sheena Wellington will present the last workshop of the current series on Saturday 16th December.

First Saturday talk of the New Year will be given at 2pm on the 20th January by the renowned Gaelic singer and scholar Anne Lorne Gillies. Anne will be singing songs from her recent book “Songs of Gaelic Scotland” and it is hoped a book signing can be arranged. Admission £5/£3(FoW members).

PRESS RELEASE: Early harp workshop at Dundee’s Wighton Centre

Yesterday (Wednesday 15th November) the Wighton Centre in Dundee Central Library paid host to a unique workshop. Led by early harp specialist Simon Chadwick, the lunchtime event featured ancient Gaelic harp music from the old music books preserved in the Wighton Collection.

Two lucky attendees were able to try their hand at playing replicas of ancinet museum instruments, as they strugled their way through the tortuous fingerings and subtle sounds of one of the traditional beginners tunes taught to student harpists in the 18th century.

Meanwhile an attentive audience watched their progress, as Mr Chadwick explained the structure of the music, and the techniques for playing this notoriously difficult instrument.

The early clàrsach was played in Scotland and Ireland from over 1000 years ago but it died out in the 19th century, when it was replaced by the familiar modern celtic harp.

Luckily for early music enthusiasts the techniques and tunes of the old clàrsach traditions are preserved in books and manuscripts like those in Dundee’s Wighton Collection.

Simon Chadwick is “Wighton Harpist”, presenting a series of events in the Wighton Centre on the third Wednesday of each month. The next event is a recital of old Irish music played on a replica 18th century Irish harp, Wednesday 20th December 2006, 1.15 – 1.45pm, in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee DD1 1DB.

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

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