Like many of us, Nancy Beal stumbled across the harp by accident. In 2004 she noticed harp lessons being offered at her local community college and decided to give it a try. She then spent a year with Edie Elkan of Bedside Harp and eventually became a Certified Master Harp Therapist in 2007. Along the way, she completed a certification in aromatherapy, became a Reiki Tibetan Master and received certification in sound therapy using Tibetan singing bowls. She has over 5,000 hours of playing at the bedside in hospitals and other health care settings in the South Jersey/Philadelphia metro area. She is currently contracted by four hospitals and a cancer center to provide harp therapy to patients, visitors and staff. Two and a half years ago, she discovered Carolyn Deal's Youtube videos on the double-strung harp and since then has used this instrument exclusively in her therapeutic work. Besides using Carolyn's many techniques in health care settings, Nan has modified others to best use the myriad of techniques possible to bring relaxation, peace and healing to all those she plays for in her hospitals.
Presenter website: Harp and Heart
Eduardo Betancourt is back for his second Somerset. He is a Grammy-award winning Venezuelan multi-instrumentalist with 25 years of experience in traditional and fusion Venezuelan music. He grew up in a musical family in Venezuela, where his love of folk music took root with folkloric radio programs coming into the house. His Latin Grammy was for a collaboration with Ilan Chester and he was nominated again in 2016 for an album with Rafael "Pollo" Brito. He has done more than 100 recordings and performances with renowned international Latin music artists and has given workshops and master classes all over the world. He was a guest instructor last year at the Berklee School of Music in Boston in the Latin Minor Studies program. He currently collaborates with the Venezuelan Project, a Latin Jazz group. Eduardo is as comfortable playing the traditional folk harp, the llanera, as he is an electric harp (Electric Llanera and Camac EC harps), all in the service of making music that connects traditional with the contemporary. His workshops for us will introduce many to Venezuelan music styles as well as improvisation and creativity.
Presenter website: Eduardo Betancourt
“My Muse, tho' hamely in attire, May touch the heart." said Robert Burns. There is nothing ‘hamely’ about Debbie’s artistry as a musician and singer, and the combination of these skills with her passion for Robert Burns results in music that echoes ‘the wood note wild’ as Burns describes the natural and unpretentious singing he liked best. An experienced performer and teacher, Debbie’s repertoire also includes many traditional Scots ballads and Scottish jigs, reels, and strathspeys as well. She is also an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, her current congregation being in nearby Sparta, NJ. To date, she has three solo CDs, Dream of Caledonia, Roots and Wings, and Love Came Down at Christmas, a mix of original and traditional songs. Cofounder, with Kathy DeAngelo of the Harper’s Escape, she was on staff at the Escape for all of its 24 years and co-authored the Escape tunebooks, Ten Years of Tunes, Another Ten Years of Tunes and The Parting Glass). Debbie has also published three song and harp arrangement collections: Burns for Bairns and Wood Notes Wild and her newest Harp of My King, a compilation of Celtic Tunes New & Old for Christian Worship, which also includes a CD companion. She created our Basically Beginning program in 2009. This year, she and Carol Thompson team teach our third Beginner's Boot Camp on Thursday. This year she will also be doing the Beginner group for the Harpers' Escape at Somerset Sunday program.
Presenter website: Debbie Brewin-Wilson
At home in two cultures, Nicolas Carter was raised in Asuncion, Paraguay, where he learned to play the Paraguayan harp and later in Minnesota. His principal teacher Isidro Caballero (Father to Paraguay's harp genius Nicolasito) taught him in the traditional folk style of learning by ear, an “ideal way for me to learn, every note I have to hear and feel it.” Playing professionally since 1988 in a variety of settings, as accompanist to singer Lizza Bogado, to playing in a various trios and groups from “Son del Sur” (Song from the South, Latin-American folk music), and “Los Amigos” (traditional Mexican music) to ” Nube” (New World Fusion). As a solo harpist, Nicolas has had concerts in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Nicolas combines his passion for music with a deep interest in theatre, and indeed, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Direction from the University of Minnesota. His CDs, more than a dozen, reflect the several musical idioms from Latin to Fusion in which he is fluent. After living in Central America for a few years, Nicolas is now is based in White Plains NY and gigs all over the United States.
Presenter website: Nicolas Carter
Mairi Chaimbeul hails from the Isle of Skye in Scotland and has been living in Boston for a number of years. She graduated from the Berklee College of Music, where she had been given the American Roots Award, and in 2018 joined its faculty in the Strings Department. She has deep Gaelic traditional music roots, of course, and has been developing her own sound with a distinctive voice and improvisational playing style. As an up-and-coming young harpist, Mairi has twice been nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, and was a finalist in both the BBC Young Traditional & Jazz Musicians of the Year and BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician awards. She tours regularly here in the States, the UK and in Europe and performs with fiddler Jenna Moynihan, the progressive-folk group Aerialists, the Brìghde Chaimbeul Trio, and with legendary violinist Darol Anger & the Furies. This is her first Somerset!
Presenter website: Mairi Chaimbeul
Carolyn Deal founded and directed the Southeastern Harp Weekend in Asheville, NC for fourteen years. She came to the harp from a life-altering brain injury and surgery.
A friend came to play harp at my bedside and that was the "fork in the road" for me, she says. She had been teaching in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a psychological field of how the brain “codes" experience and how learning takes place. She capitalized on 40 years of teaching and makes playing this seemingly difficult-to-play instrument easily accessible. In 2016, she began her revolutionary double-strung harp video curriculum on Youtube, which to date has garnered some 110,000 views. She is now sharing her discoveries of the vast potential of the Double-Strung harp. She says,
I spent years having misconceptions about double-strung harp and now it has totally changed my life. She wants to spread the joy! She says,
Novice players can sound beautiful, and advanced players can go far beyond anything they have done before. There is a full slate of workshops on double-strung harp and Carolyn will be doing a full-day Sunday add-on you can sign-up for.
Presenter website: Carolyn Deal
Singer and harper Dominique Dodge of Vermont and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is making her fourth appearance at Somerset. Deeply grounded in the music and song traditions of Cape Breton, Ireland, and Scotland, Dominique has a passion for melody-driven dance music and responsive, rhythmic accompaniment, as well as for songs, airs, and 18th century harp music. A former Fulbright Scholar, Dominique has an MA from the University of Limerick in Irish Music Performance and a BA Honours in Scottish Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. She is also a dedicated learner of Scottish Gaelic. As well, Dominique has extensive experience in traditional arts education and maintains a busy and vibrant teaching practice. She has been performing, recording and teaching traditional music on both sides of the Atlantic for over ten years. She has been a teacher at the New Hampshire School of Scottish Arts (NHSSA) as well as OSAS (Ohio School of Scottish Arts) and has been an instructor with the Integrated Arts Academy in Burlington VT, with a guiding hand on the Young Tradition Vermont youth group. She has a new CD this year all in Scottish Gaelic called Canan nan Teud, The Language of the Strings. Under her direction, our Youth Harp Program, has really taken off and she is back for the 4th consecutive year.
Presenter website: Dominique Dodge