Somerset Harp Festival Online

Festival Presenters

(click on any name to learn more about the presenter and their workshops this year)

Appearing courtesy of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland
Siobhán is Ireland’s foremost performer of historical harp music, playing 16th-to 18th-century chamber music and opera with many of Europe's most prestigious historical and traditional performers. In a lively and informative interview from 2019, Míchael O’Caíthín captures the enthusiasm and dedication Siobhan Armstrong brings to her research into the relationship between song and harp in the ancient Irish musical tradition: “Singing is integral . . . as important as getting the right instrument and putting the right strings on it and looking at the correct hand position and the historical technique. . . Because otherwise you’ve got the right instrument . . . but you still don’t have the music, because the music is the words. Abair amhrán. Abair amhrán. Abair amhrán ar an gcláirseach, you know. Sin é. [Speak the song. Speak the song. Speak the song on the harp, you know. That’s it.]” Founder of The Historical Harp Society of Ireland and director of Scoil na gCláirseach-Festival of the Early Irish Harp, Síobhan is dedicated to reviving and expanding understanding of how the voice and the harp worked together in the past. Síobhan’s particular focus is on figuring out what the harpers played in the bass hand. Among other work, she has a solo recording of particular interest for harpers: Cláirseach na hÉireann: The Harp of Ireland that was released in 2004.  The full text with O’Caíthin can be found at  Siobhán is very excited about bringing the Festival of Early Irish Harp to Somerset as an add-on to our program.

Presenter website: Siobhán Armstrong

Can we recreate the music of the old Irish harpers? | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Some musicians approach music of long ago with an ear as to how it might originally have sounded, researching the original instruments and evidence for historical tuning, temperament, articulation etc. But it is obvious that one can never be confident of how close one really gets to the musical past. So why try at all? Can this ‘hopeless’ task deliver surprising, satisfactory, even fascinating results? How? This illustrated talk triangulates some of the issues in early Irish harping pre-1800, deciphering juicy historical music sources, and aiming to share a great deal about what is known about historical Irish harp performance practice. It further explains how gaining knowledge in this area can lead a 21st-century harpist to an abundance of ‘new’ ancient music to play, meeting it humbly, on its own terms, without shoe-horning it into modern styles.

Historical Accompaniment: What did the lower hand play? | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
It is generally assumed that the old Irish harpers’ playing style was lost when the tradition died out c1800; that only the melodies of their compositions survive. This illustrated talk presents new evidence uncovered by Siobhán Armstrong during her recent PhD studies on the historical Irish ‘lower hand’ as she now calls it. She outlines a totally accessible, easy-to-reproduce, authentic playing style, which will appeal to harpists of all levels, particularly those who feel frustrated at handling complicated bass lines, chords and harmonies. This clean, spare, more ancient approach is appropriate for Carolan, and also for the harpers who came before and after him. Hear more about what Siobhán has discovered, taking a close look at pages from the harp-music collector, Edward Bunting’s field notebook of the 1790s, in which he transcribed music gathered from the last surviving early Irish harpers.

Would the real Danny Boy please stand up? | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10:30-11:45am
Oh Danny Boy is based on a beautiful old Irish song, "Codladh an Óigfhir" [The Young Man’s Sleep], taken down by the young Edward Bunting from the harp playing of the aged Dennis O’Hampsay in 1795 or '96. Siobhan will start by deciphering the manuscript page, showing how to get historical fingerings, articulations and string-dampings to create subtleties of phrasing. She will teach how to add the old Irish style of sparse lower-hand that O’Hampsay himself might have used to accompany the melody. Time-permitting, she will also discuss Bunting’s enigmatic markings indicating melodic ornaments. In doing all that, we will unearth a more authentic Danny Boy for harpists!

We're glad to have Erik back at his third Somerset. Fueled by his interest in medieval history and fantasy literature, Erik Ask-Upmark started playing folk music when he was a teenager and took up piano and harpsichord. His friend built a small harp and asked him to try it out and he was hooked. At the same time he took up the Swedish bagpipe. Nordic music became his passion and lead to his solo debut album "Heaven's Polska", which was critically acclaimed and the first CD in Sweden ever featuring only Nordic music on solo harp ! Erik has has earned the coveted title of "Riksspelman" (Master musician of the Realm in Sweden) and also plays the Baroque double harp with ensembles such as Concerto Copenhagen and Ensemble Mare Balticum. He performs early music and Nordic traditional music both as a soloist and with his groups Svanevit, Dråm and Falsobordone. He lives at the tip of Sweden and is just about an hour from Copenhagen and has given concerts and workshops across the Nordic countries and Europe as well as the West Coast and Rio de Janeiro, among other places.

Presenter website: Erik Ask-Upmark

Early Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 10-11:30am
You don't need a historical harp to play in this workshop or to play this music! Erik will take you through European music from the 13th to 15th centuries and show you how to adapt it to the harp. Sources will include the Spanish song collections Cantigas de Santa Maria and Llibre Vermell, as well as music of the troubadours and maybe even a piece from the Nordic countries.

Nordic Repertoire Builder | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: On Video
This workshop is meant to expand the repertoire for fans of Nordic/Scandinavian music or those who would like to add to the 101 workshop. Tunes will be taught by ear (sheet music will follow) and Erik will focus on different types of polskas and other types of Swedish tunes, looking especially at how to achieve a truly danceable rhythm. Lots of work with left-hand accompaniment and techniques will help make your melodies lively and danceable.

Silly Harp Tricks | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
If you're looking to spice up your playing, take this workshop! Erik will give you many different ideas and tricks that you can use on all kinds of music that will help you create your own arrangements. You will first learn an easy melody by ear, and we’ll use that to build a complete arrangement with accompaniment, ornaments, variations and left hand technique. Then Erik will show you some of his “party tricks” like extending the range of your harp, changing its sound, how to use strumming and vibrato, plus using the levers in cool ways.

Swedish Folk Music 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 10-11:30am
There exists distinct folk harp traditions in Sweden that is quickly gaining popularity as more and more people discover the richness of this repertoire. The focus in this workshop will be on Swedish folk music, but Erik will teach you some of the differences in style between all the Nordic countries. Erik will focus on mostly dance music with an emphasis on the polska and slängpolska and you'll learn what makes Swedish folk music unique with its scales, rhythmic grooves, accompaniment, ornamentation and more.

Since founding Magical Strings in 1978, Pam and Philip Boulding have been sharing their love of Celtic music. They have toured far and wide, composed new melodies, taught, recorded albums (21 and counting), and built new harps and hammered dulcimers. Of one recording: It's a reviewer's job to find something to criticize in every album. Sorry, I could find nothing out of sync in Phil and Pam Boulding's well done collection. . . Whether a Boulding interpretation of a traditional tune or one of Phil's originals, each track was thoughtfully constructed and perfectly executed. When not on the road (and who is these days?) Philip and Pam treasure living and working on their farm by Puget Sound.

Presenter website: Magical Strings

Arranging & Playing in a Band | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Whether you want to play with one other person or a number of other musicians, there are many tools of the trade for developing interesting arrangements to not only showcase each person's talents but perk up the ears of your audience. With over 40 years experience playing with Magical Strings and in shows with many other artists with diverse instrumention, Philip has a lot of advice and hands-on suggestions to share in this workshop.

Carolan’s Bridget Cruise Airs | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Join Philip as he traces Turlough O'Carolan's musical journey from composing in the older, Gaelic style of music he grew up with to the newer contemporary style of Baroque music sweepig through Ireland in the early 18th century. Carolan composed a number of airs for Bridget Cruise, which you'll learn and play through in this workshop, that will demonstrate these influences.

Christmas in July | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 1-2:30pm
Philip has been performing with Magical Strings for over 40 years. They and their family have been performing an annual Celtic Christmas concert. Even if you haven't been near enough to Puget Sound to attend one of these concerts, you may have one of their many Christmas CDs. It's only fitting that we tap Philip to do this Play-Along workshop to learn how to take some of the most popular tunes of the season and arrange them in new ways.

Hawaiian Slack-key Music on Harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 3-4:30pm
From the moment over 40 years ago that he first heard the lush warm sounds of Keola Beamer playing guitar in the ‘real old style’, Philip thought this music (with 200+ year old origins from the Spanish cowboys in Hawaii) could just as readily have evolved on the harp. Slack-keys refers o the dropped open guitar tunings. Since he hadn't been playing harp long, Philip has developed this style for the harp, using his own guitar experience and a collaboration with Keola himself. Philip has ‘translated’ this style for the harp that is accessible to all harp players. Music for ‘Ohana Kai’ and ‘Warm Island’ will be available in the handout download. (Note: sound files also available from Magical strings Bandcamp site)

“My Muse, tho' hamely in attire, May touch the heart." said Robert Burns. There is nothing ‘hamely’ about Debbie Brewin-Wilson’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 presents our fourth 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: Wisdom Harp

Beginners Boost #1 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 10-11:30am
Get the most out of your Somerset experience and let Debbie Brewin-Wilson guide you through the basics of tuning, hand position, placing, playing. Thumbs up! Lots of hands-on! Get comfortable with the instrument and yourself! These are "live" during the festival and we've also got 6 videos in our Beginners Boost video series. View these videos and refer back to them when you need to after the Boot Camp & Beginner's Boosts.Music-reading ability is not necessary.

Beginners Boost #2 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 10-11:30am
Debbie will be reinforcing harp fundamentals and skills she taught in the first Beginner's Boost as well as left-hand chord "cookie cutter" positions in the "live" edition of the workshop during the festival. She'll also explain the Circle of Fifths & teach a tune and get both your hands working together. Plus we have 7 videos in this Beginners Boost 2 series. View these videos and refer back to them when you need to after the Boot Camp & Beginner's Boosts.

Beginners Boot Camp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Nov.-Beg | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 10am-4:30pm
This all-day Thursday workshop is especially geared for absolutely new players. Debbie enjoys helping beginners get off to a good start so if you've just gotten your harp and want to start building a solid foundation for learning and playing it, this experience will be immersive. View some of these videos to get a leg up. You'll be able to refer back to them when you need to after the workshop. Get the most out of your Somerset experience and let Debbie Brewin-Wilson guide you through the basics of tuning, hand position, placing, playing, and forming chords while having fun and being introduced to a tune. Lots of hands-on! See our Beginners page for workshops we highly recommend for the rest of your Somerset weekend.

Celtic Service | Type: | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Debbie is our official pastor in residence! Join her for her Sunday morning worship service and make "a joyful noise".

Harpers' Escape at Somerset (beginner group): Sunday Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10am-5pm
It's the Harper's Escape at Somerset! In the first session, everybody learns the same "group" tune and adds accompaniment suited to their level. Then each group will learn additional tunes, learned by ear, and get left-hand tips and tricks for the accompaniment in the second session. A group session will finish the day after dinner with all the levels playing together. People who are signed up for this will get access to download audio files to listen to in advance (as is the way for the Harpers' Escape). Debbie will be leading the beginner-level group. For itinerary for the Escape.

Deette Bunn says it was love at first sight but took a year of persistent parental persuasion before she started harp studies when she was 9. Classically trained with a Bachelors and Masters degree in harp performance, Deette has soloed with orchestras throughout the US and has held several principle harp positions as well. She discovered the lever harp - both single and double strung - during her 17 year stint as 2nd harp with the Syracuse Symphony and has been an active teacher and performer on the single and double strung lever harp ever since. Teaching is her passion and she is currently on the faculty at Syracuse and Cornell Universities, giving lessons on both pedal and lever harp. She maintains a full private studio, a busy performance schedule, and is the director of Harmony of Harps, a local lever harp ensemble for which she has written numerous lever harp arrangements. In addition, she works as a double-harp therapist at her local hospital and hospice. Deette is a long-time Somerset attendee and this is her first time here as a presenter.

Deep Into Double-Strung: Sunday Add-On | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 1-5pm
Spend a Sunday Add-on afternoon and get a deep dive into the nuances of playing the Double-Strung harp. The first workshop is "Rearranging Your Single-Course Tunes for Double-Strung Harp" and the second is "Setting Levers for Double-strung Accidentals and Tunings". Deette will wind up the afternoon with a concert for her workshop attendees. This afternoon will be recorded for later viewing for those who are signed up for the event only. This workshop is an add-on cost.

Double-Strung "Ask Me Anything" with Laurie Riley | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 3-4:30pm
Every level of double-strung player is invited to this no-holds-barred session to talk directly to one of the people responsible for the creation of the double-strung harp and one of its most inventive players. Whether you've had lots of double-strung instruction, or none at all- - in either case you have lots of questions. Come prepared to ask your questions and get them answered. No question is too simple or too complex. Beginner players can learn a lot from the questions from more experienced players. This session will be recorded for later viewing too.

Double-Strung & Harp Essentials for Beginners | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: On Video Anytime
Yes! You can begin on a double-strung! This workshop is for those who are new to harping and the double-strung. You will learn how a double-strung is different from a single strung harp, how to hold your harp, basic harp technique and easy exercises appropriate for any kind of harp, and how to use them effectively on the double-strung harp. You will also learn about basic hand shapes for chords, and how to turn those into fun rhythm patterns as well as beginning techniques like echoing and overlapping that are unique to double-strung harp.

Double-Strung Improvising | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
Improvising on the double-strung is twice as much fun and twice as easy! You don't have to be a genius to improvise. The secret is in the patterns. Deette will let you in on those secrets! Master those and learn to mix and match to create beautiful and satisfying improvisations.

Double-Strung Next Steps | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
If you already play the harp, this is your chance to learn how the double-strung adds interest to your arrangements. We'll learn how to take advantage of never having your hands get in each others' way and work around having to change levers. You'll get solid new exercises to assist you with hand independence and new ideas for "thinking outside the box" when creating your arrangements.

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

Christmas Latin Style | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int | Method: Archive Video
Here is an entertaining way to spice up your Christmas repertoire! Nicolas Carter has put a new twist on beloved North American traditional Christmas pieces so you can wake up your listeners with joyful rhythms and a delightful surprise to the ear. Nicolas makes all his workshops FUN, so he'll show you how to play "Joy to the World” as a Colombian Cumbia, a very popular Latin dance music style that will truly bring joy to the song.

Improvise Your Way to a Composition | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10-11:30am
Everyone is able to improvise music and discover their own melody hidden within them. Nicolas believes it's an intuitive approach to composing music and he'll prove it to you in this workshop. The improvisational exercises will facilitate defining melodic phrases to create an original composition. Even though this workshop will be recorded for later replay, have your own recording device (like on your smartphone) handy to capture the specific bits that strike you most. Nicolas has been composing and recording music for over 25 years and his compositions combine styles of music from around the world.

Latin American Waltzes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Most of the world's cultures include some kind of waltz in their dance repertoire. In this fun workshop, learn about the distinct characteristics of waltzes in Latin American music and how specific Latin harp techniques will make you sound like an entire band. Nicolas will teach the music "by ear." Nicolas will use the Paraguayan waltz Lena Luna. You can hear him play it on the video on his bio page. Bring a recording device to jog your memory later.

Make Me a Lyre! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: ON VIDEO
Smaller than even most lap harps, how can you make the most out of a 10-string lyre? Nicolas explores many ways to make music with the lyre, techniques, musical patterns, rhythms, special effects and even half steps notes. You will be surprised with the musical possibilities. Check out his quick little video

Paraguayan Music Introduction | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 1-2:30pm
All Paraguayans harp players learn "Llegada", a classical introduction to Paraguayan style of harp playing. You don't need a Paraguayan harp for this workshop--any harp will do! You will explore the fascinating Paraguayan syncopated rhythm that combines 3⁄4 and 6/8 and learn to coordinate both hands under Nicolas' expert guidance. This song has a simple melodic phrase that will allow us to explore the wide range of Paraguayan decorative harp techniques. Though the music score will be available as the downloadable handout, Nicolas will teach "by ear" and you'll learn most by observation, listening and working on the melody pattern in relation to the various Paraguayan harp playing techniques.

Paraguay's classic Pajaro Campana | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: ON VIDEO
Nicolas will teach this classic Paraguayan folk song (The Bell Bird in English) and you'll learn to use the Paraguayan syncopated rhythm that combines 3⁄4 and 6/8. Though the music score will be available as the downloadable handout, Nicolas will teach "by ear" and you'll learn by observation, listening and work on the melody pattern in relation to the various Paraguayan harp playing techniques.

An emerging and impressive South American talent, in his second Somerset appearance, Edmar hails from Bogota, Colombia and is a long-time US resident. He has electrified the jazz-fusion musical landscape with his dynamic, virtuoisic and charismatic playing of the South American harp. A reviewer writes: “Edmar’s body seemingly engulfs his Colombian harp as he crafts almost unbelievable feats of cross-rhythms, layered with chordal nuances." His first foray on stage was an act of tremendous courage: that of inviting himself on stage with his big, unusual instrument with acclaimed musicians who had not played with him before. But he was prepared and he wowed them all, musicians and audience alike and his career was launched. At the core of his improvisational preparation is connecting with a melody by playing it until the basic line is such a part of him he can move freely and naturally around it. In 2014 Camac Harps introduced its new Llanera model harp named for Edmar Castañeda.

Presenter website: Edmar Castañeda

Brazilian Beats: Bossa Nova | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 1-2:30pm
Get ready for a rhythm workout! If your feet can’t stop moving when somebody else plays the Bossa Nova, you’re ready to start adding some great Brazilian music to your harp repertoire. Bossa Nova is the 60s fusion of jazz and samba. In this fun workshop Edmar will give you solid methods for building independence, yet cooperation, between your hands to play these great rhythmic syncopations.

Just Joropo | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 10-11:30am
Joropo was a Spanish word that originally meant "a party", but now it has come to mean a type of music and dance that identifies Venezuelans. Typically, played on a Llanera, a Venezuelan harp, Edmar will teach the bass lines and chord progressions and get both your hands working together. You don't need a llanera to take this workshop! Any harp will do.

Latin Dance Rhythms: Salsa | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10-11:30am
In this workshop you'll be building on fundamental Latin rhythms and focusing on Salsa, the roots of which lie in eastern Cuba but grew and developed in New York City during the 60s. Different regions of Latin America and the United States have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cali Colombia, L.A. and New York styles. Both hands will get a heavy-duty workout and you’ll leave this workshop feeling energized and accomplished!

Latin Rhythms & Improvisation | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 3-4:30pm
Edmar will teach you how to use Samba, Bossa Nova and Joropo as the rhythmic left-hand springboard to your right hand improvisation on melodies and harmonies. You’ll get some terrific bass lines and some percussive techniques for your left hand that will really make your harp come alive! Jazz it up with some right-hand improvisation and you’ve got some jazz-infused Latin music for your repertoire.

Appearing courtesy of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland
Born in the south of England, Simon has gradually moved north and westward and is now living in Armagh. While his first musical love was change-ringing, in his own words, “. . . at university, I came across the harp, and archaeology, and traditional music. These in combination have guided my musicking since then.” He has reconstructed both the ancient instruments themselves, not only harps but ““early-medieval lyres and other strange ancient things.” Simon documents his research on his informative website,, which is the pre-eminent published source of information on the early Gaelic harp and its traditions. He has also published a pair of tutor books outlining the historical tradition, a book on advanced playing techniques, and an often-cited article in the scholarly journal Early Music.

Presenter website: Simon Chadwick

Old Irish and Scottish harp traditions: general introduction | Type: Lecture | Level: | Method: On Video Anytime
In this general introduction, Simon covers aspects of the history of the harp in Ireland and Scotland from earliest times to the present day. He will look at the old harps, the manuscripts containing old harp music, and the information about the old harpers. Why did the tradition come to an end, and how has it been rediscovered and revived?

Old Irish harp repertory--how do we find it? | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 12:15-1:15pm
The old harpers didn’t write down their music, because they learned it, and passed it on, by ear. When the inherited oral tradition came to an end in the 19th century, that transmission stopped. So anyone since then who has wanted to play old Irish or Scottish harp music has had to get it from somewhere else, from outside the harp tradition. From the 16th to the 19th century, other musicians did write down harp music, and adapted it for keyboard, fiddle or other instruments. This session will discuss some of these sources, trying to understand them as second- or third-hand witnesses to the lost old harp traditions.

Màiri 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, Màiri 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.

Presenter website: Mairi Chaimbeul

Arranging Basics for Traditional Melodies | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Màiri will teach a couple of traditional Scottish melodies by ear and lead you through a range of ways to develop and enhance your expression of these melodies. Learning some ornamentation and fingering tips is essential to getting the real traditional "feel". Once you've got the melody, you'll find out how to build a left-hand accompaniment from scratch using Mairi's ideas and suggestions for structuring and building full arrangements.

Desmystify Learning by Ear | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
One of the most important musical skills you can develop is the ability to learn by ear. It allows you to really dig into the core of different styles by transcribing and learning from recordings of the musicians you love, to dive into playing situations where we might be unfamiliar with the music with more confidence, and get the music that’s in our heads onto our instruments. Màiri will share her top tips on techniques, tools and exercises for developing your ear, looking at hearing and identifying patterns and shapes, and getting out of your head when it all feels a bit much! Targeted to any level player who is inexperienced in learning by ear or wants to improve that skill.

Putting the Lilt in Scottish and Irish dance tunes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
You’ve heard people play jigs, reels, strathspeys and more, and you love it, but when you try to play these tunes yourself, especially when learning from sheet music, it just doesn’t sound the same! If this rings true, this workshop is for you! Join Màiri to explore the rhythmic nuances of some of these Celtic tunes, and work through some tips and exercises on how to get that special lilt into your playing.

Rhythm and Groove Workout | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int | Method: Archive Video
Rhythm and groove drive what makes music sing, and makes us feel good, and makes other musicians extra fun to play with. Màiri will show you exercises and tools for focusing on rhythm and groove in your playing. You’ll learn about syncopation, poly-rhythms, odd meters, using your metronome creatively and ways to split grooves between the hands.

Scottish Gaelic Song Airs | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 1-2:30pm
Traditional song has carried the oral history, stories, culture, humor and legacy of the Gaels throughout the centuries. In this workshop take a glimpse into this world by learning a beautiful Gaelic song melody and looking at the song’s story and history as you go. Once we’ve learned the melody, we’ll take a look at how to add a sensitive left hand accompaniment and some simple arrangement ideas.

Song Groove Patterns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 1-2:30pm
When you accompany yourself or others singing, do you find yourself coming back to the same patterns again and again? In this workshop, Màiri will teach some groove patterns to help your songs shine, bringing momentum and vitality to your accompaniment. After learning the basic groove pattern, split between the hands, Màiri will walk you through different ways of developing the pattern, and how to apply it to different tempos, chord progressions, and feels.

Appearing courtesy of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland
Sylvia Crawford although versatile with many instruments and musical traditions (with a focus on Early and Traditional Music) has made her primary focus the old Irish harp endeavoring to find a way for players to master the instruments as if from within the tradition which once involved direct oral transmission from mentor to student. From Country Armagh, she received her degree in music and ethnomusicology from Queen’s University in Belfast, then lived for many years in Galway and Brittany before returning to Armagh to focus on the eighteenth century harper Patrick Quin and to participate as both a teacher and administrator of The Historical Harp Society of Ireland. At present she is writing a book on the old Irish wire strung harp, based on her analytical study of surviving evidence of the tradition in field transcriptions and harp fingerings collected by Edward Bunting from the old harpers. Crawford is dedicated to sharing the knowledge, insights and reconstructed methods of playing the old Irish harp she has discovered with students of this tradition.

Presenter website: Sylvia Crawford

Fixing the left hand fingers– Learning the first tune, Mailí Bhán | Type: Lecture | Level: | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10:30-11:45am
Mailí Bhán was traditionally the first tune taught to Irish harpers. Edward Bunting collected it from the harper, Patrick Quin, just over 200 years ago. Through learning Mailí Bhán, you will also be learning the principal fingering movements, both by name and by 'doing'. When you have learned these fingering movements, and they have become assimilated into your hand, you will be ready to move on to the other first tunes. These are the fundamental building blocks for exploring more old Irish harp repertory, style and technique.

Understanding old Irish harp fingering | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
We may never fully understand how the old Irish harpers played because the living tradition, transmitted orally, came to an end about 200 years ago. But we do have many pieces of the puzzle. New research in this field makes possible a deeper understanding of traditional performance practice and allows us to attempt to reconstruct this lost art. Sylvia's main area of interest is in traditional Irish harp fingering. She'll summarize her most recent work with an overview of her approach and exciting new insights into traditional fingering. This is a work in progress.

Singer and harper Dominique Dodge of Vermont and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is making her fifth 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 5th consecutive year.

Presenter website: Dominique Dodge

Youth Harp Program: Day 1 Meet & Greet | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 1-2:30pm
We kick off our Youth Harp Program with a Meet & Greet session as part of our Thursday Specials. This is an optional part of the 4-day program. It's a get-acquaiinted session which includes a harp circle and an overview of what to expect during the rest of the weekend.

Youth Harp Program: Day 2 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 10am-2:30pm
Learning Tunes and Songs. We’ll learn to sing songs and then transfer the melodies to the harp, building ear-learning skills along the way. Once the tunes are learned, we’ll use appropriate rhythms and harmonies to build a collaborative arrangement.

Youth Harp Program: Day 3 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 10am-2:30pm
Learning Tunes and Songs. We’ll learn to sing songs and then transfer the melodies to the harp, building ear-learning skills along the way. Once the tunes are learned, we’ll use appropriate rhythms and harmonies to build a collaborative arrangement.

Youth Harp Program: Day 4 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10-11:30am
Final get-together and close out of our first youth harp program. Get answers to questions and/or issues regarding any topic related to harp. This will also be a time to help set new goals for playing, discuss new experiences, help students realize their potential and open up possibilities for the future. This is a wonderful opportunity for youth harpists to unite on issues they feel are relevant, exchange ideas.

Sometimes a particular experience will connect with existing skills in such a way that a person will embark in an entirely new but inspired path. Such is the case for Edie Elkan, who with a strong background in music, experience as a teacher of piano, and an early grounding in playing the harp, found herself first, returning to the harp to assuage her own grief, and then discovering that the harp was being used in medical environments which in turn led her to found Bedside Harp in 2002, a New Jersey, hospital-based harp therapy program. In 2005 Elkan was recognized by the Society for the Arts in Health Care for her work at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s cancer center, where, in a research project, she discovered that patients who listened to live harp music while receiving chemotherapy were less anxious that those patients who did not. Edie has published Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (about Harp Therapy) and her master’s thesis: The Edie Elkan Method of Teaching Folk Harp as an Instrument of Healing. Also available is a 4-set CD Oodles of Noodles, a recording of a workshop on ‘noodling’ presented at Somerset.

Presenter website: Bedside Harp

Improvising and Noodling | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Clear off your music stand, breathe in and out, and just sit down and play If you want to really play music from the heart, Edie will give you the confidence to creatively improvise and noodle without sheet music in front of you. A great workshop for beginners.

Our Day as a Therapeutic Musician | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
You've heard of harp therapy and therapeutic music training programs, and you are interested in this field, but how does doing this work differ from a wedding gig, playing at church or a recital? Come and find out what therapeutic musicians do every day and what it's like. Discover what a fulfilling day can be and what special skills are needed. Come if you're interested in the topic. You don't know what you don't know.

Pachelbel Canon Boot Camp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Use the chord progression in the ever-popular Pachelbel Canon to improve your technique and sound. Your hands will get a great workout and Edie will lead you through some satisfying variations too.

Playing in Lifecare Communities | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Edie will share her repertoire and programming tips on her work in Lifecare Communities which includes conducting Sing Alongs and Name That Tune games in Independent Living, Assisted Living and Dementia Units. This is a hands-on on how to play chords to accompany yourself singing along with the seniors you'll be playing for which is much easier than having to deal with both melody and harmony. Edie will show you various ways to play the chords—from simple one-hand accompaniment to somewhat more complex stuff, with focus mainly on I, IV, V chords. You'll be singing and playing some simple chordal accompaniment in no time! Participants for the whole workshop will receive a discount coupon for Edie’s Strike the Harp and Join the Chorus, a guide on using the harp as an instrument of accompaniment.

From her first glimpse of the harp at age of three, Shelley Fairplay was itching to play. At nine, after time learning piano, her harp journey began. Soon she was playing in harp ensembles, regional and county orchestras, and providing music during theatre performances. From Cardiff, Shelley achieved her BMus and was invited to play a solo with the University Symphony. From the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Shelley received her Masters and soon after that her teaching diploma. Shelley is a fully qualified Primary School teacher with two years of classroom experience where she ran choirs, school orchestras, recorder groups and music workshops. She also has an on-line teaching program at where she is known as a thorough, fun and compassionate teacher. Shelley brings passion and energy to all things harp—and fun. How many other harpers do you know who have played harp at Port Lympne Zoo beside an elephant ice sculpture?

Presenter website: Shelley Fairplay

Just Loopy | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
A looper pedal enables performers to record their playing live on stage and then perform over their recorded ostinato tracks. Learn the joys of using ostinato patterns in your own playing and discover some basics on how a looper pedal can be used with harp in performance. You do not need a looper pedal for this session, but you will need to download the paper print out of one!

Pop with Pizzazz | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 10-11:30am
A foundation course covering how to arrange, write and play pop/rock music on your harp with pizzazz!

Rhythm Made Easy! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 10-11:30am
This workshop is targeted to anyone who has no trouble reading the notes on the staff but has difficulty working out how long to play each note! Words, Words, Words. Shelley will give you memorable word tricks that will help you begin to master rhythms. They really work!

What on the harp is that? | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
There are a wide range of mysterious topics that come up in harp playing, including unusual techniques, harp specific symbols on music and notational challenges surrounding lever and pedal markings. This workshop with Shelley is intended for the more advanced sight-reader.

Maeve Gilchrist thrives on innovation and improvisation - what she fondly calls "my musical patchwork quilt." Steeped from an early age in both classical and traditional music, Edinburgh-born Maeve Gilchrist discovered jazz in her late teens which she pursued at Berklee School of Music in Boston where she also studied voice, percussion and Latin American music. She subsequently became Berklee's first lever harp instructor. Maeve has stretched the traditional boundaries of the harp and has been credited as an innovator of the Clarsach (Scottish Harp) due to her chromatic style of playing and improvising. Now living in New York City, Maeve is touring regularly with her own project and giving workshops worldwide. Performance highlights include the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, The World Harp Congress, and the Celtic Connections Festival. You've seen her on the Somerset stage in numerous artistic configurations with other artists, including with dancer Nic Gareiss. She collaborates and performs with so many artists across so many kinds of musical genres that we have a hard time keeping up with her! She now has four CDs out as well as several instructional books published by Hal Leonard Music.

Presenter website: Maeve Gilchrist

Advanced Technique | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 3-4:30pm
This workshop is for those who have the fundamentals down but are looking to go deeper into finger dexterity, sound-control and looking to find more ease with the instrument. We’ll tackle finger-strengthening exercises, jumps, slides and speed playing techniques across both hands with a focus on breath, weight-distribution and lightness. Think of this as a boot camp for technique and be prepared to try new things, let go of old-hang-ups and get more connected to your instrument.

Core Arpeggios | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Fully explore the benefit of working with arpeggios as part of a comprehensive exercise and dexterity program. Delve deeply with Maeve and find how using them in different shapes will help stretch fingers and break muscle memory while increasing dexterity over the full range of your harp. By using unorthodox shapes and different inversions, arpeggios can be the most beneficial exercise that will help free up your hands and navigate your instrument more freely.

Flip Out with Maeve | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: On Video
If you've seen Maeve perform, you know that she easily executes daring feats of lever flipping without breaking a sweat. How does she do it? Get up close and sit with Maeve through some fun tunes as she steps through the mechanics and timing involved in getting comfortable with flipping out!

Mechanics of Arranging | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10-11:30am
Arranging is a fantastic way to find your own voice as a harp player and this workshop is geared to expanding your tool kit and inspiring some new ideas! How do you build a balanced arrangement that both supports and illuminates a melody in your own unique way? Maeve will use a simple melody as a vehicle to build an arrangement from the ground up; looking at multiple accompaniment options involving textural, harmonic and rhythmic possibilities.

Play Faster and Better | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Maeve will walk you through how to play both faster AND better, something that you might think is impossible for you. Maeve makes it look easy but there's a process she's worked for years that makes her playing look effortless. It's not really a secret but it will take some dedication! If you're interested in working on building up your dexterity, style and comfort in more up tempo music, this is the workshop for you. You won't be going from 0 to 60 by the end of the workshop, but you'll be headed in that direction.

Rhythm Workout | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Rhythm brings vitality and drive to music and can make the difference between an amateur and a professional. Maeve will focus on rhythm and how to incorporate it into warm-up and practice routines to strengthen all aspects of your playing. Learn about hand independence, poly-rhythms, syncopation, ostinato's and more!

Secrets to Effective Practicing | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
In this workshop, Maeve will walk you through a well rounded practice session focusing on the warm up and how to incorporate metronome use right from the beginning. Combining rhythm, hand independence and finger exercises for a thorough and effective warmup, you'll realize that the most effective routine is one that YOU can create to fit your own level and challenge yourself. She'll then give examples of how to isolate problem parts of pieces or tunes and tackle them, using time in an effective way and saving the most enjoyable parts of playing to the very end of the practice session as a reward! Questions and group participation will be highly encouraged in this workshop in order for participants to get the most out of it that they possibly can. This will be a fun and highly useful workshop for any level of harpist.

Joyful, centered, and a consummate musician are words that describe the presence and playing of Robbin Gordon-Cartier.   Dedicated early to the study of the harp, Gordon-Cartier spent long summers as a young harpist in Ireland studying at the Royal Irish Academy.  Since then she has appeared nationally and internationally everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the National Symphony of Santo Domingo, at events honoring Lord Guiness, Cicely Tyson and Sir James Galway.   She plays frequently at churches and gospel events. Robbin teaches an extensive and very successful harp program in the East Orange School District's Cicely Tyson's School of the Performing Arts where she works to bring the harp to the attention of a wide variety of young people, busting stereotypes. Her Cicely Tyson harp ensemble will be playing in our Friday lunchtime concert. Robbin led our Youth Harp Program in 2014 and 2015 and led the Teacher's Symposium for 2 years. Now we have her back this year with a completely updated Teacher's Symposium. She has joined the faculty of Kean University in Union, NJ as Concert Artist/Adjunct Harp Faculty. Robbin has a CD out, Just As I Am.

Presenter website: Robbin Gordon-Cartier

Go Paperless with Digital Sheet Music | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Explore the world of digital sheet music and how to make the switch from paper to tablet. Robbin will go over the basic starter pack and give tips and favorite shortcuts and enhancements to make going digital easy and helpful. Find out how liberating it is not dragging a case of music to a gig and having access to music that is not even in your paper library yet. You'll get all the pointers in getting started, including how to convert music you already have, organizing tips, best practices for using the tablet in practice and at gigs and so much more.

Gospels & Spirituals | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 1-2:30pm
There are gospel songs and spirituals that stand the test of time and transcend generations, denominations and all spiritual situations. Robbin will actively lead participants and take one of the classics and turn it up into a 21st century gospel hit! You'll learn tips for arranging, adapting and assessing how songs can be updated, which will be applied to a variety of gospel songs. By the end of this workshop you'll be playing the new gospel song arrangement and have the tools to learn and arrange other gospel songs.

I Always Wanted to Play the Harp | Type: Demo | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
If you've ever said to yourself "I always wanted to play the harp" Robbin will answer Frequently Asked Questions in this workshop offered to our daily Visitors as a "get acquainted" session.

Music Reading 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
Just as there are many recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies; there are many ways to learn how to read music. The key is finding the way that works the easiest and quickest for you. In this workshop Robbin will go over the many ways to learn the basics of note reading, drills for practicing reading and how to go from reading notes on the paper to playing notes on the harp.

Music Reading 201 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
Building on Music Reading 101, this workshop will incorporate reading chords, playing from lead sheets and recognizing patterns rather than reading the notes one by one. Robbin will help you work on sight reading skills and identifying key signatures to make note reading as easy as reading words in an article. Learning how to count out rhythms and note values is also covered.

Teacher's Symposium | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 10am-4:30pm
Join Robbin for an inspirational and motivational day of discussions with special guests and hands-on examples on teaching in the post-covid world. Whether you've been teaching for a while now or are just thinking about getting into this field, this Symposium has a comprehensive itinerary that will touch on key aspects of developing your skills and your business acumen in the online world. Come to get ideas. Come to share your ideas and experiences.

As well as being an acclaimed harper and dynamic teacher, and with five cd’s and four books of music, Rachel has contributed energetically during this difficult time to promote harp music events and classes on-line. Her youtube harp workshop series HARP at HOME, won her a second nomination as Tutor of the Year in the BBC Alba Scots Trad awards.  In early April 2020 Hair coordinated the move of the Edinburgh International Harp Festival online, giving harpists around the world another way to engage in concerts and workshops, earning the Festival a further nomination as Event of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad awards. Hair, who grew up in the Highlands, normally divides her time between Glasgow and the bewitching Isle of Man where she is exploring the music particular to the island. In the words of an Irish Music Today review of her newest album, SPARKS (with guitarist Ron Jappy) “Rachel helped to establish a modern harp sound with her trio line-up, but on her fifth album she’s gone back to her roots, back to basics, back to the music she most loves to play. . Together with guitarist Ron Jappy, Rachel presents traditional tunes from Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, that mysterious land of mermaids, Manx cats and millionaires.”

Presenter website: Rachel Hair

Celtic Connections | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Take a trip in this workshop and find the many smaller countries that have a Celtic Connection with wonderfully vibrant music. Explore the music of lesser known Celtic nations like Cornwall, Galicia and Asturias. What gives their music their special flavor? Find out! There are other ample opportunities at the festival to explore the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland. Tunes will be taught by ear with music downloadable as a PDF.

Fiddle on Harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Scotland has a wealth of regional fiddle styles and it's North-East tradition can lay claim to an unbroken 250 year tradition of fiddle composers. From William Marshall and Scott-Skinner to the father and son of Neil and Nathaniel Gow, Rachel will teach you some of their most harp suiting tunes and have you "harpily" fiddling away on your harp in no time! Tunes will be taught by ear, but music provided in advance.

Mann Up Your Repertoire | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 3-4:30pm
It may be the smallest of the Celtic regions but the Isle of Man can still pack a punch, musically speaking. Due to its isolation in the middle of the Irish sea it's been one of the only places in the world where folk have been allowed to play concerts and sessions over the last year and as a result the tunes have been flowing! Come learn some of the tunes which have been making waves in its tradition, both old and new from Rachel Hair, widely regarded as a world expert on Manx harp. Tunes will be taught by ear, but music provided in advance.

Manx Music 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Archive Video
The Isle of Man is sandwiched in the middle of the Irish Sea between Scotland, England and Ireland, and its music has some similarities to its surrounding neighbours but also some unique qualities. Learn about how the music was revived and learn a sampling of this particular flavor of Celtic music! Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided as a downloadable PDF.

Manx Music Starter Kit | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: On Video
Sandwiched in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man and its music has some similarities to its surrounding neighbours in Ireland, Scotland and Great Britain but also some unique qualities. Learn a sampling of this particular flavor of Celtic music! Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided as a downloadable PDF. To learn more about the culture, see Rachel's Manx Music 101 in our Archive for a tour of the island and more tunes!

Manx to the Max | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
The mysterious island in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man, is the smallest of the Celtic Nations, but in recent years has been making waves in the Celtic Music scene. The Claasagh (Manx Gaelic for harp) has been undergoing a recent revival on the island, so come help further the cause and learn some of the tunes from the island in the process! Add some Manx tunes to your repertoire. Tunes will be taught by ear, with music provided at the end of the workshop.

Wistful Waltzes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 10-11:30am
There's nothing quite like a wistful waltz to swirl your fingers around. Rachel has a nack of picking the most satisfying, feel-good tunes to teach. The waltzes she has chosen, from a variety of traditions, will be a wonderful addition to your repertoire and just perfect to play when your session needs a breather from the fast-paced jigs and reels. Tunes will be taught by ear, but music provided in advance.

From her expressive renderings of airs to dynamic dance tunes, Grainne Hambly demonstrates ‘absolute mastery of the Irish harp’. Her accompaniments while firmly traditional, incorporate and celebrate contemporary rhythms with dexterity and flawless taste. Popular worldwide, Grainne has three solo CDs, two music books and a collaborative CD with William Jackson. Over the past year Gráinne has developed a popular online programme of workshops as well as participating in many online performances. With a master's degree from Queens University in Belfast and years of workshop experience, her teaching skills match her playing; she is patient, clear, and sharp-eyed. She teaches at most of the major summer schools in Ireland and is in much demand here when she's on tour. She was also on staff at You Gotta Have Harp's Harpers' Escape Weekend for 16 years. This year she will be teaching at Somerset’s Sunday Harper’s Escape program from her home in County Mayo, Ireland. For the advancing student, eager to take on challenges, (warning: she makes it look easy!) Gráinne is a great choice.

Presenter website: Gráinne Hambly

Beyond Carolan: Ireland’s Other Harper/Composers | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 10-11:30am
We're still playing their music more than 300 years later and many of their pieces have worked their way into the folk tradition. Learn about the popular harper/composers who are not Carolan and preceded him in the musical timeline. Their simple, elegant melodies have stood the test of time and some we only know from music collections like Buntings. Add some new pieces to your repertoire. Taught by ear with written music in PDF that is downloadable before/after the class.

Beyond Jigs and Reels | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Broaden your repertoire of Irish dance tunes, with some slides, polkas, barndances and other less widely played tunes. Grainne will teach some of these easy melodies, along with some tips on appropriate ornamentation and how to add lift and rhythm through interesting accompaniment and syncopation. This workshop is ideal for both intermediate and advanced players, as the melodies are not difficult to learn but playing them up to speed can be a fun challenge! Music taught by ear, no sight-reading necessary.

Carolan: His Life and Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
We're still playing O'Carolan's music more than 350 years after he was born. These are simple, elegant melodies that are as popular today as then. Learn about Carolan's life and the times he lived in and some of his music in this hands-on workshop that will add 2 new pieces to your repertoire. Taught by ear with written music distributed at the end of the workshop. The festival will be having a Carolan Marathon as its special event Saturday night to mark Carolan's 350th birthday.

Harpers' Escape at Somerset (advanced level): Sunday Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Adv. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10am-5pm
It's the Harper's Escape at Somerset! Everybody learns the same "group" tune and adds accompaniment suited to their level. Then each group will learn additional tunes, learned by ear, and get left-hand tips and tricks for the accompaniment. A group session will finish the day after dinner with all the levels playing together. People who are signed up for this will get access to download audio files to listen to in advance (as is the way for the Harpers' Escape). Grainne will be leading the advanced-level group. This is a separate all-day event that you need to advance register for.

Irish dance music: Intro to Ornamentation & Arranging | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Archive Video
Start your Irish dance repertoire, or build your current repertoire, with this workshop. Gráinne will teach a dance tune by ear and show you how to do the various stylistic ornamentations that give the music that lilting quality. Gráinne will also give you important tips on fingering that will help you play more quickly. While Irish music is all about the melody, you'll learn how to add an appropriate accompaniment.

It's always great to have Deborah Henson-Conant on our faculty to challenge you to boldly go where no harper has gone before. Since one reviewer called her the ‘wild woman of the harp,’ Deborah describes herself as being "cross-genre: jazz-pop-comedy-blues-flamenco-celtic.” During her impressive career which includes a CD that was nominated for a Grammy, Deborah has brought the harp out of the demure background and into the electric limelight! Mixing music and theatre Deborah performs solo or with a symphony with equal ease. When orchestrating her own music, she often engages symphonic musicians in unexpected ways. Writes another reviewer “her life, her shows, her instrument, her workshops, and her music are all about transformation.”As before, Deborah will be presenting an additional all-day Sunday program, which have been so well received, that we've come up with a new program to help extend your weekend at the festival. She'll do four live on Zoom workshops for us and then present her own special Sunday Play by the Numbers as an add-on.

Presenter website: Deborah Henson-Conant

Blues Beginnings | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 3-4:30pm
Take this workshop if you want to have fun and jam with other musicians and hear people say to you "Wow, I never knew you could play THAT on a harp!". Besides learning the 3 essential musical roles in the Blues, and how to play them with only 2 hands, you'll get one of the coolest, and most useful bass techniques at YOUR level of technical ability. This technique is not just great for the Blues, but for lots of rhythmic music. DHC will show you the simple harmonic structure of the 12-Bar Blues and how that simplicity is such a rich field for creative expression. Get the ultra-fun swing rhythm at the heart of the Blues--it's already deep inside your body.

Easy Jazz Chords and Progressions | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 1-2:30pm
A progression is a series of chords – and some are especially powerful for improvisation. Once you learn how to use them, you can easily create spontaneous improvisations – or use them as intros or interludes for the music you already play. In this workshop, you’ll learn one of the world’s most useful progressions, the “two-five-one-six”, that DHC calls the “Power Progression” because it can be used in so many ways: for intros, improvisation and to modulate from key to key. You'll learn how to put it together, build jazz chords on it and then improvise with it. Once you learn how to do this, you’ll be able to add jazzy chords to other progressions DHC will show you in the workshop.

Intro to the Blues | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Do you long to have fun and jam with other musicians! To hear people say to you "Wow, I never knew you could play THAT on a harp!" If so, then take this workshop! You'll learn the 3 essential musical roles in the Blues--and how to play them with only 2 hands! Learn one of the coolest, and most useful bass techniques at YOUR level of technical ability--a technique that's not just great for the Blues, but for lots of rhythmic music. Learn the wickedly simple harmonic structure of the 12-Bar Blues and why that simplicity is such a rich field for creative expression. Get the ultra-fun swing rhythm at the heart of the Blues--it's already deep inside your body.

Jazzy Arpeggios | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 10-11:30am
Did you know that Jazzy Arpeggios can be easier than regular arpeggios? That’s because they’re visually symmetrical. And here’s what’s so great about them: there are only 4 possible shapes for a 7th chord arpeggio and once you learn those shapes you can learn basic jazzy arpeggios, hand-over-hand and cascading inversions. And that’s what we’ll do in the workshop! The best part is that you’ll be able to put what you learn immediately into play by using these beautiful arpeggios as introductions and interludes to any tune you play.

Perform with Passion | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
If you want to perform, you DO want to play with fire! Regardless of whether you’re a Fledgling or a Professional, jumpstart your own path to playing with greater passion with this workshop from the fiery harp diva herself. Using her dramatic harp showpiece “Baroque Flamenco,” DHC will show you how to go from just "learning the notes" and “counting it out” to finding the core of a melody and playing it with a grace that transcends playing ability, then expand it as your skills increase. She’ll show you how your body can lead you to the 'character' that brings the music alive. This workshop will totally energize your morning and have you tapping in rhythm the rest of the day!

Play by the Numbers | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21
A Sunday Add-on! See our detailed web page on this event. You must sign-up in advance for this all-day event.

Sing & Play | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Learning to sing and play the harp at the same time is more than the mechanical aspect of what to do with your hands while your voice does its thing. Use the harp to unleash that path to your heart's voice. Accompaniment doesn't have to be complicated to support your singing. DHC will give you her favorite use-anywhere left-hand patterns and show you how you can adapt them to achieve a solid accompaniment roadmap to get your song where it's going!

When Ann Heymann first drew her finger across the wire strings of a Jay Witcher harp over 40 years ago, she was immediately enchanted by its silvery sound and intrigued by the long-forgotten pedigree of the Gaelic harp. She embarked on a quest to uncover its history and revive the playing of the instrument and has become a world-reknown expert on the wire-strung harp and its music. Being a pioneer meant she has a lot of "firsts" to her credit: developing fingernail and damping techniques from the ancient Robert ap Huw harp manuscript, adapting highly ornamented piping variations to the clairseach, interpreting and performing repertoire from several ancient harp manuscripts, creating the clairseach style in the performance of Gaelic poetry. Her music books and tutors in the wirestrung or Gaelic harp are must-haves for any aspiring player of the instrument. Since she'll be doing her wire-strung workshops direct from her home, you'll get a chane to see her historical harp recreations and we get a chance to have her husband, Charlie, be part of her workshops!

We are recognizing Ann with our Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

Presenter website: Ann Heymann

Echoes from Antiquity | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: On Video
The ancient Irish harp of Ireland and Scotland is richly portrayed in legends and poetry, and imbedded within are deep truths about the evolving traditions. Ann Heymann will take you on a journey following the "echoes" of archeology, mythology and history, revealing deep esoteric traditions and a conjectural role of the Irish harp in the development of the harp in Europe.

Gaelic Harps & Artistic Research | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: On Video
From her lifetime of artistic research, Ann Heymann has collected published and unpublished statements that, when combined with known performance standards, reveals deep truths of style and technique extending from medieval times to the music of Turlough O’Carolan and Denis O’Hampsey.

Gaelic Song & Harp Together | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 3-4:30pm
Ann and Charlie Heymann team up in this workshop to teach (by ear, of course!) a song in Gaelic (you don't have to speak Irish to take this class!) and find out how less is more when accompanying yourself—or another singer. Also, for an instrumental break, explore the basics for creating harp ceol mor variations. The history and story of the song will be given and the lyrics will be taught phonetically. Ann will be on Gaelic harp, but the material is suitable for any harp.

Wire-strung Harp Essentials | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 1-2:30pm
If you're new to the wire-strung harp or are considering getting one, this is an essential workshop for you with one of the world's leading experts and teachers of this instrument. Ann Heymann will discuss different types of wire-strung harps and how they might serve your musical needs and desires, and then cover basics of approaches and technique. You can’t become an expert in just one workshop, but this hands on overview is geared to all levels AND any harp is welcome for those who want to explore!

Nancy's book, The Egan Irish Harps, is the inspiration for her Friday talk on Irish harpists in the 19th century. She has published articles in History Ireland and Irish Arts Review magazines. She performs in several Boston early music ensembles and recently played medieval harp in Hildegard’s 12th century play, Ordo Virtutum. Her CD Balletto, features early dance music, and a new ensemble recording is Turlough O’Carolan-A Life in Song. Nancy has 7 books of arrangements, including her Historical Harp Collections of early music. Take advantage of her expertise while you're here at Somerset.

Presenter website: Nancy Hurrell

Feminist Harpists & Domestic Rebellion in 19th Century Ireland | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 1-2:30pm
Meet three strong-minded Irish harpists: Sydney Owenson (novelist), Frances Power Cobbe (Fanny Power’s descendant) and Miss Egan (the harp maker’s daughter). These women defied 1800s gender roles to forge independent careers with lasting cultural legacies. Drawing from her research, Nancy will tell the long-buried stories of how the harp played an important part in their interesting lives.

Hildegard’s 12th Century “Ordo Virtutum” | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Written a thousand years ago, the medieval morality play “Ordo Virtutum” by Hildegard von Bingen has special resonance for today. Learn about the mystic Saint Hildegard and create a free-flowing harp part for Ordo using these techniques: shadowing the soaring melodic lines, patterns of tone clusters, rhythmic textures for light (Heaven) and darkness (Devil), and the all-important grounded drones.

Medieval Estampies | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
Estampies are instrumental pieces played for courtly dances in the 13th-14th centuries. The music has several verses anchored with a repeated refrain, making them easy to learn. Nancy will lead you through “La Manfredina” and “La Quarte Estampie Royal”, two tuneful pieces with an exotic medieval flavor. Sight-reading is necessary.

Renaissance Harp Ensemble | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
Join Nancy in a virtual Renaissance ensemble and play multi-level harp parts: learning each part from Nancy and then playing along with her virtual band. You'll learn two popular pieces from around 1600. These ensembles were performed by Nancy’s students in the Brandeis University Early Music Ensemble. Advanced beginners and intermediate level; sight-reading is necessary.

Simply listing William Jackson’s achievements, as musician, performer and composer can’t come close to capturing the brilliant spirit, musical intelligence, dry wit, and sympathy that he brings to every instrument he plays, piece he composes and class he teaches. Although the harp is his primary instrument, Billy’s knowledge and experience allows him to move comfortably from the bouzouki to the tin whistle. In 1976 he was a founding member of Ossian, a breakthrough Scottish band. His richly woven and bold compositions, The Wellpark Suite, St. Mungo, Inchcolm, and A Scottish Island, reveal him as a master of orchestration with a sensitivity to contemporary tastes and the traditional idiom. His most recent composition (2020) is an as yet untitled suite celebrating the connections between Ireland and Scotland over the years. Now living in Ireland, Jackson and Grainne Hambly have been hosting concerts from their home in County Mayo. His CD with Grainne Hambly debuted at Somerset in 2009. Besides many CDs he also has one book, Scottish Traditional Music, complementary to the CD The Ancient Harp of Scotland. He was on staff at You Gotta Have Harp's Harpers' Escape Weekend for eight years and this year is leading our Harpers' Escape at Somserset on Sunday. . In 2016 Jackson was recognized with Somerset's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Presenter website: William Jackson

Ancient Harp of Scotland | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Nowadays, Scottish harpers are just as likely to play jigs and reels as the fiddlers and pipers are, but in the "old" days this wasn't the case. Learn about the "old" harp repertoire and the harpers who played it. Take advantage of William Jackson's expertise in interpreting and arranging this music. The music will be taught by ear but sheet music is also provided as a downloadable PDF.

Arranging Tips & Tricks, Next Level | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 3-4:30pm
Arranging is more than choosing the right chord to play at the right time. If you want to spice up your arrangements beyond just the basic chords, take this workshop with one of the most inventive and creative harpists on our staff. Learn how to add intros and outros and interludes to dress up pieces in your repertoire. Add a little style that not only keeps you interested in a piece of music, but your listeners as well.

Composing in a Traditional Style | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
What makes a new composition sound traditional? This is a comprehensive look at the structure of traditional music and the modes and rhythms used from Gaelic song, strathspeys to jigs and reels. Learn how to use a simple chord progression as the basis for developing melodic ideas and then expand these melodic ideas into a larger work.

Crossing to Ireland | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 10-11:30am
At its closest, Ireland and Scotland are only separated by 12 miles across the Irish Sea. They share similar Celtic albeit distinct cultural flavors and their histories are inextricably entwined, politically, and for our purposes, musically! Well-known Scottish harper William has deep family ties to Donegal and will take you through a musical exploration highlighting the cross-musical connections between Ireland and Scotland.

Harpers' Escape at Somerset (intermediate): Sunday Add-on | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10am-5pm
It's the Harper's Escape at Somerset! Everybody learns the same "group" tune and adds accompaniment suited to their level. Then each group will learn additional tunes, learned by ear, and get left-hand tips and tricks for the accompaniment. A group session will finish the day after dinner with all the levels playing together. People who are signed up for this will get access to download audio files to listen to in advance (as is the way for the Harpers' Escape). William will be leading the intermediate group. This is a separate all-day event that you need to advance register for.

Liza Jensen has studied harp maintenance and mechanics privately under the tutelage of master harp builders Pat Dougal and John Pratt. She has worked out in California with Triplett Harps and is a warranty repair service for their company. She is the only American woman to be invited by Jakez Francois, president of Camac Harps, the most innovative harp manufacturer in the world, to become a warranty repair service for their company. When she's not working in her studio in New York City, Liza is globetrotting on her harp maintenance missions and has been all over the world.

DIY harp maintenance 1: Knot Tying | Type: Demo | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 11:30am-12:15pm
Learn to Do It Yourself. You are, inevitably, going to break a string. You should know how to change it. Take this workshop and get a lesson in knot-tying and replacing strings. If you're a beginner or have never changed your own string, you must take this workshop!

DIY harp maintenance 2: Tuning | Type: Demo | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 11:30am-12:15pm
Learn to Do It Yourself. This mini-workshop focuses on properly using your tuner and tuning your harp. Essential! Is there a difference between tuning with levers up or levers down? What about the difference between tuning loud or soft. Then what do you do when your lever buzzes when engaged? You gotta know this stuff.

Harp Regulation & Maintenance | Type: Demo | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
The mysteries of harp regulation will be completely resolved in this one workshop with our expert harp technician! Liza will answer your questions about what it means to have your harp regulated and all its associated concerns such as what happens to your harp as it ages and why the harp shifts. See what that looks like. Bring your harp to this workshop and see it for yourself. How old is too old for your strings to be on your harp? What are the top 5 reasons your harp will buzz? There are all sorts of things to be learned about your harp--no matter how long you've been playing you'll learn all kinds of useful info in this workshop.

Appearing courtesy of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland
Pádraic was the 2011 TG4 (Irish TV) Young Musician of the Year. The young piper hails from Maree, Co. Galway and was born into a much-respected musical family, his father being Tommy Keane, the well-known piper. Pádraic began learning the pipes at the age of eight, under the guidance of his father, and also received tuition from many leading pipers at various summer schools. He is now a tutor himself at music festivals in Ireland and abroad. He has toured the USA as soloist with The Irish Chamber Orchestra, performing Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin’s Termōn and Europe with Ragús. He has also collaborated with the RTE Concert Orchestra, RTE Symphony Orchestra and ConTempo Quartet. He is featured on The Rolling Wave, Na Píobairi Uilleann’s 2012 CD of significant young pipers. 2021 is Pádraic's debut at Scoil na gCláirseach.

Irish Music Master Session | Type: Demo/Concert | Level: | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 9am-10am
Listen and talk to master uilleann piper, Pádraic Keane, in a relaxed, interview-style session where you will meet with a recognised master musician in the living Gaelic tradition. Pádraic hails from Maree, Co. Galway. He was the 2011 TG4 (Irish TV) Young Musician of the Year, and is the son of Tommy Keane, the well-known piper. Pádraic began learning the pipes from his father at the age of eight, and also received tuition from many leading pipers at various summer schools. He is now a tutor himself at music festivals in Ireland and abroad. In this session, you can ask Pádraic about his background, influences, and style, and what is important to him in performing traditional music well. Immersing yourself in his deep, embedded knowledge, and ingrained style, as a living master, can help you make your own music sound more authentically Gaelic.

The first time you hear Laoise Kelly play harp, you might find staying in your seat a challenge. The drive and energy of her playing style is a revelation. One reviewer for the Irish Times wrote, “Kelly’s great passion is for pushing the harp to find its outer limits—and not being afraid to go there.” In the same interview Kelly talks about playing melody with her nails and her objection that the sight of the harp image on the Irish taxation envelopes brings a bad connotation to the instrument, undermining the wonder of being the only nation with a musical instrument on the flag. In Kelly’s case it is more a matter of what she has not done, who she has not played with or what notables she not played for, and what marvelous festivals she has not participated in or invented herself (most recently the Achill International Harp Festival on her home island). Her three solo albums and those made with bands, The Bumblebees and Fiddletrees are a fine place to begin the Kelly adventure. Original, outspoken, fiery and mad for the harp, treat yourself to some time in her company.

Accompaniment for Irish Sessions | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Even if you've been playing harp for a while, trying to play dance tunes at speed in an Irish session is a daunting feat. Get some useful tips from Laoise on accompaniment patterns for reels and jigs and maybe a hornpipe that will have you more confident in navigating your way through bassline progressions.

Irish Dance Tunes for Beginners | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 1-2:30pm
If you love Irish music when other people play it, but you've never tried it yourself, then this is the workshop for you. Stick your toe in the water, so to speak, with some easy Irish repertoire-builders from one of Ireland's top players. This not about playing fast! Learn some easy tunes and get some tips on giving a tune that Irish lilt that cannot quite be captured on a piece of sheet music.

Irish Slow Airs | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
Just because they're called "slow" airs doesn't mean that they are easier to play than dance tunes. These beautiful pieces defy written music transcription. Laoise will take you through the fine art of interpreting and learning an Irish slow air and getting the nuances that make these pieces among the most challenging in the Irish tradition to get just right. This workshop is taught by ear and no written music will be provided.

Reel Time in Ireland | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 1-2:30pm
In Ireland reels are the queens of the dance tunes! Learn a tune and how to give a reel the lift that gets the toes tapping. Laoise will teach a tune and incorporate ornamentation that will give your tune the right feel. Find out what the right amount of accompaniment is that doesn't overwhelm the melody. Taught by ear with sheet music provided.

Appearing courtesy of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland
By age 17, Andrew was studying maths, voice (counter-tenor) and organ on a full scholarship at Selwyn College Cambridge. His deepening interest in early music and the baroque era led him to become an adept of Baroque performance elements: gesture, Historical Action and ‘continuo’ an accompaniment that includes a bassline and harmonies, usually keyboard, cello, or lute. When he encountered the baroque harp, little scholarship had been done and there were no teachers to turn to, and so, characteristically, he hurled himself into the task of breaking ground: researching, learning how to play, and considerably adding to understanding of baroque rhythms, “striking” and other ‘lost’ techniques. Lawrence-King has extensively performed, directed, composed, and recorded, and is also known as an especially fine teacher. Recently his group ,Harp Consort has released an album Carolan’s Harp.

Presenter website: Andrew Lawrence-King

Carolan’s rhythm: music of an earlier time | Type: Hands-on | Level: | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10:30-11:45am
Our frenzied and fast-paced modern world influences how we view time and probably how we feel music. Travel back in time with Andrew to unearth an older perception of time and see how it flowed into the rhythm and tempo of the harpers of Carolan's time. How does it feel to play music of an earlier time?

Dynamic and versatile, Tristan Le Govic returns to the Somerset faculty to regale us with the music of his native Brittany. Tristan began playing Celtic harp at six, first near home and then further afield in Ireland and Scotland where he has often appeared playing in duos and trios with other harpers. In concert Tristan captivates through a combination of his playing style, strong rhythm, singing, and rapport with fellow musicians on stage. He is just as comfortable on an acoustic harp as on an electric, especially when playing with his trio. He can sound ultra-traditional with his Breton renditions or just as easily swing into rhythmic jazz improvisations. He has numerous CDs to his credit, featuring his own compositions as well as Breton to Scandinavian music. Tristan has published a number of music collections, including, The Breton Harp Anthology, a unique collection of three music books featuring the best harpists in Brittany. He is featured in Alain Gallet's 2003 documentary, Le Renouveau de la Harpe Celtique en Bretagne ("The Celtic Harp Revival in Brittany").

Presenter website: Tristan LeGovic

Beautiful Breton melodies | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 10-11:30am
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Alan Stivell's ground-breaking "Renaissance of the Celtic Harp", Tristan will teach some of the tunes of this famous album in this workshop. Discover or develop your repertoire of Breton traditional music. Tristan will teach you lovely melodies and then step you through how to arrange these pieces and add variations. New players to Breton music are welcome, of course! No prior knowledge needed of this type of music. Tristan teaches by ear but sight-readers can certainly download the handout before the workshop.

Breton Music Introduction | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: On Video
Breton music is part of the Celtic repertoire along with Irish, Scottish or Welsh music. Tristan will introduce you to the traditional music of Brittany, which is now part of France. Add traditional dance tunes, marches and songs to your repertoire and learn the different styles with different modes and rhythms. You'll learn a melody by ear and then Tristan will step you through basic arranging appropriate to this music. No prior knowledge of Breton music is needed. This workshop will be taught by ear.

Breton Music's New Influences | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: On Video
There is a vibrant music scene in Brittany which uses traditional music as a springboard to more contemporary-sounding arrangements. This class is for you if you would like to learn some of this repertoire and go deeply into the traditional style. The only way to feel the swing of a tune is to experience it with other people, which we can do through the magic of video editing to make you feel like you are part of a bigger group. Take this workshop to develop the real "feel." Working by ear is essential in this workshop.

Jazzy Accompaniment for Traditional Music | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 10-11:30am
Join Tristan for this fun workshop to learn how to use colourful chords or scales, groovy basses and swing to make our Celtic repertoire sound a little more contemporary and jazzy. A good understanding of playing chords and theory fundamentals is needed. We will go in a step-by-step progression. You'll learn some tools to understand the process of arranging: take a teaspoon of theory and just add a pinch of analysis (nothing hot, it’s for the flavour). Learners by ear and/or with the music are all welcome.

Appearing courtesy of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland and Somerset Folk Harp Festival
Karen Loomis is a specialist in musical instrument research, with expertise in historical harps. By using modern technology to unlock the secrets of these historical instruments she has become known as a forensic harp sleuth! Karen has done groundbreaking work studying the harps of Ireland and Scotland, and recently led a project funded by the Arts Council of Ireland to study the 18th-century Hollybrook harp at the National Museum of Ireland, for the Historical Harp Society of Ireland. She is dedicated to helping harp builders and musicians rediscover the sound world of the historical wire-strung harps of Ireland and Scotland. For her PhD dissertation at the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Loomis did groundbreaking analysis of the construction and craftsmanship of the Queen Mary and Lamont harps in the National Museum of Scotland. She also holds a BSc in Physics and an MA in Astronomy as well. Karen strives to advance our knowledge and understanding of the Irish harp, and is daily motivated in her work by all who seek to recreate its magnificent sound. Her research is published in peer reviewed journals, and was featured in the 2016 BBC documentary, Scotland’s Treasures. She has a chapter in the forthcoming book, The Eglantine Table: Elizabethan Musical Instruments in Marquetry at Hardwick Hall (Boydell & Brewer), edited by Christopher Page and Michael Fleming. Karen is an independent researcher, and offers consulting services for harp makers.

Presenter website: Karen Loomis

Early Irish harp intro & demo | Type: Demo | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 3-4:30pm
Curious about the early Irish harp? See and hear a demonstration on a replica of an historical instrument. This workshop will introduce you to the harp that entranced listeners in Ireland and Scotland for centuries. Strung with metal strings, it has an enchanting resonant sound, with a long sustain. We’ll cover the basics of how it is tuned and played, and where you can find resources such as instruments, music, and lessons.

Historical Early Gaelic Harps: The Hollybrook Story | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
The bell-like sound of the harp of Ireland and highland Scotland was heard in great halls throughout the Gaelic world. Built to be strung with wire, the substantial frames of the few surviving historical instruments stand in silent testament to a rich, centuries long musical tradition. Karen will premier the results of her forensic analysis and study of Ireland's Hollybrook harp. This is an interactive online lecture where you'll have a chance to talk to Karen directly and ask questions about her research.

Historical Tour of the Early Gaelic Harps | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
From the middle ages through the early modern period, the bell-like sound of the harp of Ireland and highland Scotland was heard in great halls throughout the Gaelic world. Built to be strung with wire, the substantial frames of the few surviving historical instruments stand in silent testament to a rich, centuries long musical tradition. Today, this type of harp is undergoing a revival, as musicians seek to recapture its lost sound. In this presentation, Karen will trace the history of this iconic instrument through the surviving harps. Hear how Karen's ground-breaking forensic analysis of the Queen Mary harp and other recent discoveries are reshaping our understanding of these ancient instruments and are making it possible to build new instruments that more closely follow the craftsmanship of the originals.

Queen of Music: Early Irish Harp | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: On Video
The early Irish harp enjoyed a position of high status in Gaelic society, and has endured as an emblem of Ireland for centuries. In this presentation, Karen will explore what made this musical instrument special and show evidence of its importance on the surviving old harps. She'll regale you with its history as Ireland’s emblem and further delve into its music.

Touching History: the harpers’ marks on the early Irish harps | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Although the historical harpers are long gone and can’t be here to show us how they played their instruments, they left behind visible wear showing where their hands and wrists (and feet and legs too!) rubbed against the soundbox, how they replaced strings, and even how they adjusted the position of the harp to play it. See for yourself, and inform your own explorations of playing style. This workshop will include demonstration and discussion of how to interpret the harpers’ wear marks. For more on Dr. Loomis' forensic analysis on early Irish harps, see her archived 2020 workshops.

From Cape Town, South Africa Christy-Lyn Marais joins Somerset with her specialty in singing and playing harp. From an early age she was playing multiple instruments, as a young adult she trained as an Occupational Therapist and studied classical singing. However, once she discovered the harp, her life began to revolve entirely around music. She entered a national South African singing contest, called The Voice, SA and placed! After that she began to earn her way performing, making a CD (Soirée) and is now teaching by posting weekly lessons on her Youtube channel. This is Christy-Lyn’s first year as a presenter at Somerset.

Presenter website: Christy-Lyn Marais

Breaking Bad. Habits! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 10-11:30am
It's very easy to develop any kind of a habit doing something we do all the time. We all do it. When you're playing music hopefully most of the habits help your playing. Breaking bad habits? Christy-Lyn will give you solid tips and know-how to change your technique that is impeding your playing progress. Find out how to make a new normal without rebuilding from the ground up and then how to actually make the changes stick.

Practical Practice & Progress | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 1-2:30pm
Few of us have unlimited amount of time to play our harps. Life interrupts. So how can you make real progress with only 10 minutes practice? Christy-Lyn will show you how to practice effectively and make real progress. Instead of just playing through your pieces every practice session, find out how to get the best bang for your buck with your practice time.

Singing While Playing | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video
You might already think that it's hard enough getting your left and right hands coordinated well enough to play together and then add singing on top of that? How is that possible? This fun workshop is an introduction to singing and playing (also applicable to accompanying a singer/instrumentalist) and Christy-Lyn will teach you how to play from lead sheets and what the chord symbols mean. Find out why we sometimes call them numbers! You'll get solid examples of choosing simple accompaniment patterns and learning how to coordinate them with singing or another instrument. Christy-Lyn will ground you in what you do with the right hand do when you’re not playing the melody too.

Taming Toxic Thoughts | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy when you're practicing if your own toxic thoughts about your playing feeds your insecurity! Christy-Lyn supportive coaching on this topic will show you how to deal with those toxic thoughts. She'll help you double your practice effectiveness by changing the way you THINK during your practice time. Practicing thinking in a helpful way is just as important as practicing the music. Being kind to yourself as you progress is something that doesn’t come naturally; it has to be learned.

Jo Morrison regards performance as an opportunity to share melodies with their stories. Her playing includes arrangements of traditional Scottish airs, medieval chants, and her own original compositions. An experienced teacher, Jo is also highly valued as an informed, impartial, and empathetic judge that she was named a Scottish Harp Society Distinguished Judge in 2015, one of only five in the USA. Also trained to play harp in hospital and bedside Jo gently provides therapeutic environment to promote healing or assist in transition. Jo plays in a scottish duo called Port Righ; their album is Na bi Gorach Jo’s most recent recording (of six) of original Celtic harp music Flights of Fantasy, “was inspired by family, dear friends, Scotland, the Northern Lights, mountains, waterfalls and dancing bison.” Books and PDF’s are available too. Most intriguingly and courageously, Jo signed up in 2003 with the Millenium Quest with a goal to play, in an impromptu manner, in public at least 25 times during the year. Must have been a success!

Presenter website: Jo Morrison

American Folk Sampler | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
The United States has a rich, diverse tradition of folk music because of the musical quilt of styles brought here by immigrants. Old-country traditions were reshaped by the often difficult lives of the people, and the influence of the sounds of the music of their neighbors, creating stirring and powerful songs. Learn a couple of traditional American tunes from these traditions. Jo will teach simple melodies by ear along with accompaniment ideas. Both an easy and a more difficult arrangement will be provided for each tune.

Sea Chanteys on harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Sea Chanteys were sung on sailing ships for a variety of reasons, as well as for entertainment. Learn a couple of Sea Chanteys that work well as harp solos, as well as ways to accompany them when sung. We will also talk about how the song was used in the work on the ship. Simple melodies will be taught by ear (PDF available in advance for those that want it), along with accompaniment ideas for singers. (You don’t need to sing to enjoy this class, however.) An arrangement by Jo will be provided for each tune.

Appearing courtesy of the Historical Harp Society of Ireland
Eibhlís presents an opportunity to learn more about a facet of harp playing that is uncommon nowadays, for few others than Eibhlís have made a deep study and career of not only researching traditional singing accompanied by the harp, but reviving the practice, by performing herself . Her first studies delved into the sean-nós tradition of unaccompanied singing, but from there she ventured into studying the repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries of the songs that were accompanied by the harp. Playing on a replica of a historic harp, using the techniques, as best can be known, of the time she sings the songs that Carolan, for example, composed and sang as he played. Before the virus made public performance impossible, Eibhlís and Siobhán Armstrong performed songs and music from the old Irish wire strung harp tradition, including material from the repertoire of nineteenth century local harper Patrick Byrne.

Eibhlín a Rún: learn to sing an 18th-century Irish harp song | Type: Hands-on | Level: | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 10:30-11:45am
Many versions of Eibhlín a Rún [‘Eileen Aroon’], and harp variations, were collected in 18th-century Ireland. It is still in the living tradition. In this class for voice and harp (any kind of harp!), you will learn how to pronounce the Irish words, and work on breathing, phrasing, intonation and ornamentation. We will look at how singing with your harp can inform and enhance your harp playing using word-painting, rhythm and phrasing. You'll also look at Edward Bunting’s 18th-century harp manuscript settings. Please download the well-sourced handout before coming to the class.

Cuban born Alfredo Ortiz is one the leading Paraguayan harpists and has a multi-cultural repertoire which covers the folk, classical and popular music of many countries, in addition to his own compositions. He began playing the Venezuelan folk harp at 15, four years after his family emigrated there, and he eventually used music to support his medical studies. Dr. Ortiz also has a background in music therapy and sensory motor integration, which he draws on in his body/harp workshops. His compositions and publications are used in many schools and by many harp ensembles around the world. In 2008, he was commissioned by the Tenth World Harp Congress to compose a piece, which was then performed by 232 harpists at the Congress, breaking a record in the Guinness Book of World Records. When not performing with symphonies and orchestras, doing concerts or recording, Dr. Ortiz is traveling and doing lectures and master classes. In 2011, in honor of his 50 years of contributions to the harp community, Alfredo was awarded the very first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Somerset Folk Harp Festival.

Presenter website: Alfredo Rolando Ortiz

Cuban Rhythms & Spice | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Add some famous Cuban rhythmic styles to your repertoire. From the "Cha-cha-cha" to the "conga," Cuban rhythms are beloved around the world. Bring your harp to learn some very easy pieces. Easy printed music in the downloadable handout. You will also learn about the famous romantic Cuban "bolero" music style for a contrasting touch!

Latin music techniques & fun effects | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Latin American harp traditions include many unique and fun special effects. Even if you've never heard these terms before, you'll learn muffling techniques, muffled glissandi, Paraguayan "trino" (mandoline-like effect) and more. If you're interested in pop or jazz or looking to do something with your own compositions, this workshop will expand your technique repertoire with these interesting effects. Even beginners will be able to master some effects right away while understanding others to put them into practice in the future.

Latin Rhythms 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/22/21 3-4:30pm
The traditional harp styles from Latin America are very rhythmic and exciting and use fun accompaniment patterns. You'll get the various unique rhythms, polyrhythms and syncopations of several countries and transform some well known melodies into habanera, salsa, cha-cha, meringue, conga, tango and more. Alfredo will teach you various ways of using octaves and chords for repetitive patterns while minimizing the effort to do it. Then you'll take these ideas to create your own rhythmic patterns for other music styles.

Other music for hospitals & healing | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 3-4:30pm
Widen your horizon regarding “the right music” for those very special circumstances in hospitals, meditation and other delicate moments. Based on his real life experiences in many different settings from nursing homes to hospitals and various healing situations, Alfredo will share his unique approach and solicit input from attendees as well.

Prevent Injury & Play Better and Faster | Type: Lecture | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Every harp player needs to be aware of how their technique and body should work together to prevent injury and playing problems and facilitate the performance of difficult passages. With his medical background in the fields of Music Therapy and Sensory Motor Learning, Dr. Ortiz will help you focus on the right aspects of your technique and learn good habits. Prevention is the key and breaking bad habits may seem difficult but learning how your body works and responds to your playing technique is essential. Take this workshop if you've ever gotten up from the harp with sore hands, arms or shoulders!

The "Ortiz Squeeze" | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 1-2:30pm
This workshop for all harps is a treasure trove of all the secrets for easier playing, leveraging Dr. Ortiz's knowledge of body dynamics and long career as one of the pre-eminent Latin harpists. If you want to learn to play better and faster and more comfortably, then knowing how to position your fingers for all the usual chord positions and more difficult configurations, is critical. There are many questions on fingering, focus and connecting that Alfredo will answer. For all harps. For all levels.

Christa Patton, originally a classically trained oboist, was always drawn to the ancient sound of double reeds. While her brother was collecting recordings of classic rock, Christa was searching for LPs of crumhorns and shawms. A late bloomer as a harpist, Christa was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study the Baroque harp with Mara Galassi in Milan, Italy just as she was turning 40. She is a noted historical harpist and early wind specialist who has performed with many of today’s premier early music ensembles including Piffaro the Renaissance Band, Early Music New York, Boston Camerata, The King’s Noyse, Folger Consort, Newberry Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Parthenia, ARTEK and Chatham Baroque. Since one of her specialties is 17th century opera on Baroque harps, Christa has performed with New York City Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Atelier and the Opera Theater of Saint Louis. She is musical director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, focusing on the works of early 17th century composers. Christa has been on the faculty of Rutgers University as well as the Madison Early Music Festival, Amherst Early Music Festival and Pinewoods Early Music Week, among others. She is a past president of the Historical Harp Society. She has toured throughout the Americas, Europe, and Japan. She presented as part of the Historical Harp Society's Conference held here at Somerset in 2019.

Presenter website: Christa Patton

French Estampie | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
Originating in the 12th and 13th century, French Estampie are finely crafted and timeless dances and music, meant to evoke a full range of scenarios: from an intimate dance of veils to an earthy and exquisite celebration of movement. In this workshop, Christa will show how the simple verse-refrain form of French Estampie make them easy to play and serve as a base to improvise. Sight-reading required but good ear learners will have no trouble picking up the refrains.

Harp of Love and other songs from Colonial America | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
Experience the charm of music popular in the American Colonies from collections such as the Scots Musical Museum, theatre songs from England performed in New York City, a collection of Favorite songs by Alexander Reinagle of Philadelphia, and a little ditty that Washington’s granddaughter, Eleonor Lewis Park, may have played on her early French pedal harp.

Henry plays harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
King Henry the VIII of England was a well known music lover and patron of the arts. In his personal psalter he is depicted playing a harp as his fool stands by. Many compositions attributed to him can be found in a manuscript named after him. You and Christa will be looking at these spare but lovely polyphonic pieces and enjoying how well they fit the harp, both as complete pieces to play alone or in consort with other harps. All harps are welcome. Sight-reading needed.

Here's Your Harp. What's Your Hurry? | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Imagine playing a beautiful song on the harp in the quiet of one’s 18th century parlor, 16th century chamber or even in the great hall of a 14th century castle. Kings brought harpers with them into battle to soothe their frayed nerves with stories and songs. Enhance your repertoire with some beautiful harp-friendly songs from the time of Machaut to Mozart!

Iberian Harp in 17th century Spain & the New World | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
The harp was an indispensable instrument, accompanying songs and playing dances. In some parts Hispanic people use the harp still to welcome guests into their homes, to express deep piety in the church, as well as accompany their beloved Romances ( ballads), Danses, and Bailes in the theatres and in the streets. Join in and learn some ravishing songs and rousing dances for harp from 17th century Spain and the New World.

Spanish Dances of the 17th century | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Dance music was learned in Spain in the 17th century as a way of becoming familiar with the harp, guitar or keyboard. Pieces could be played simply at first, each being only a few measures long, but could also be expanded into compositions with infinite variations. Christa will teach some basic dance pieces and their chord accompaniment and then lead you through making up a few variations of your own. Reading ability required.

Due to health issues, Laurie Riley has cancelled her appearance at the festival. Her workshops will be presented by Deette Bunn.
Laurie Riley is a long-time multi-instrumentalist who has toured extensively wearing a number of musical hats. In 1981 she saw the unique music possibilities of the harp and immersed herself in that world and has the distinction of being a pioneer in two different areas of the harp realm. Laurie led in the teaching and practice of therapeutic music as a bedside service in hospitals, and founded accredited therapeutic music certification programs that train musicians for hospital work. She was a charter member of the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Music. Laurie was instrumental, literally, in the creation of the contemporary double-strung harp in 1990 and has been a leading player and teacher of this instrument, with a must-have popular instructional video and music collections. The volume of her published CDs, videos and music books on a variety of topics in her sphere of influence is astounding. Laurie will be focusing on one of key specialties at this year's festival, the double-strung harp, including a Sunday add-on. She is a leading expert on ergonomics, She received our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

Presenter website: Laurie Riley

Deep Into Double-Strung Sunday Add-On | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Live on Zoom 07/25/21 1-5pm
Double-Strung "Ask Me Anything" with Laurie Riley, if possible | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 3-4:30pm
Double-Strung & Harp Essentials for Beginners | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg. | Method: On Video Anytime
Double-Strung Improvising | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime
Double-Strung Next Steps | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: On Video Anytime

As one of the pioneers of the American folk harp, Kim Robertson’s style and approach to the instrument is uniquely personal and original. Trained classically on piano and orchestral harp, she brings a contemporary touch to both her original compositions and her arrangements of Celtic music. Her skill and stage presence as a performer has brought her a loyal following and she is an experienced and sensitive teacher as well. She has many CDs, among them Highland Heart, Shady Grove and Shall We Gather as well as numerous volumes of harp arrangements and several instructional videos. Though she makes her home in Wisconsin, she spends a good deal of the year touring both as a solo artist and with other performers. Kim has presented and performed at nearly every Somerset festival, and with good reason! She's got a clear style and can get everybody, seemingly effortlessly, working together and learning with humor and grace. No matter what the topic, her workshops are packed. Kim received our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.

Presenter website: Kim Robertson

Christmas Carol Creativity | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Known for her soulful Christmas recordings, Kim will share some secrets for arranging Christmas music. She'll cover classic and lesser-known carols and give you solid tips on choosing intros & chords patterns, substitute harmonies, creating medleys and other innovations that will breathe new life into standard carols. Sample tunes will be on lead sheets.

Contemporary Carolan | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
Almost everybody loves the music of 17th century Irish composer Turlough O'Carolan. Take a cue from Kim's inventive experience, and find out how to add a modern twist to some of those pieces. Using a few of his well known and lesser known pieces, discover how to create intros, interludes, rhythmic motifs and alternative harmonies for making contemporary arrangements of these timeless melodies. Lead sheets will be used. A basic knowledge of chord structure helpful.

Cool Left Hand Patterns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
What makes some of Kim's music so compelling is her inventive and cool left-hand accompaniment patterns. This is your chance to look under the hood at how she does it. Learn some of Kim’s cool LH accompaniment patterns and find out how to add rhythmic complexity and harmonic spice to any melody. In this workshop, you'll learn how to build on drones, use 5ths and harmonic variations. Kim will also challenge you with more advanced syncopated patterns. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

Eclectic Celt | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int-Adv | Method: On Video Anytime
Celtic melodies are timeless and offer a perfect palate to develop your own playing style. Sit down with Kim and learn to “think outside the box” and get some ideas for rhythmic accompaniments patterns, alternative harmonies and mash-up medleys. If your goal is to become a more inventive arranger, this is the workshop for you. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

Intros & Interludes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Tell a story with your arrangements. Kim will give you some simple formulas for creating introductions, interludes and endings that will add dimension to any piece. Learn how to use some chord progressions, harmonic motifs and one and two-hand patterns to create longer and richer versions of your pieces. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

Lullabies for Lap Harp | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Lullabies are particularly well-suited for small harps, with their sweet, bell-like tone. Kim will teach some lovely traditional lullabies along with some accompaniment patterns that make the most of a smaller range. Excellent class for a beginning player and because it's Kim, the more advanced player will get quite a lot of ideas on accompaniment. Reference worksheets provided but reading music is not a requirement.

Versatility and a willingness to explore—different musical genres, different types of harps and different settings in which to play, characterize Sunita Staneslow’s career. At eight Sunita was already deeply interested in music, playing flute, harp and piano. The next twenty years were spent studying mostly classical music, with such eminent harpists as Lucile Lawrence, Lily Laskine, and Judith Liber. While living in Jerusalem during the mid-'80's, Sunita began arranging various styles of Jewish music for the harp. More recently she has been working as a therapeutic musician in a children's hospital near Tel Aviv. She has participated in two studies to measure the effect of music on premature babies. Sunita has played under the baton of conductors such as Phillipe Brunelle and Claudio Abbado but her passion is traditional music. With more than a dozen recordings to choose from and many books of arrangements from classical, sacred, Celtic and Jewish music, Sunita has something to offer to every aspiring harper.

Presenter website: Sunita Staneslow

Arpeggio Diversity | Type: Hands-on | Level: Int. | Method: Archive Video
If you've never taken Sunita’s arpeggio workshop and want to get some new ideas for playing different types of arpeggios, this is the workout you're looking for! Sunita says she works with arpeggios like a sculptor. Learn cool things like how to take the same arpeggio and make it sound like a Spanish Guitar, or romantic or soothing. If you've taken her Arpeggios workshop before, you'll get even more out of this supercharged version. This workshop is targeted to players Intermediate level and beyond who want to learn how to creatively noodle! Learn how to sculpt beautiful phrases and play more musically. This is very hands-on.

Arpeggios 101 | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg | Method: Archive Video
Beginners who have never taken Sunita’s arpeggio workshops and want to get some new ideas for playing different types of arpeggios will have fun in this class. This is a no-pressure experience to get beginners really comfortable in using both hands to create the quintessential harp sound. This is very hands on and liberating because there is lots of looking at your harp and not at the paper.

Arranging Tips for Hymns | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Hymns can sound very heavy when played straight from the hymnal, which are basically written for piano. Sunita will share the arranging techniques she uses to make hymns more harp-friendly and contemporary without losing their original character. Find out how to tweak the harmony and make the arrangement flow so they fit the hand of a harpist. Basic sight-reading is required for this workshop.

Beautiful Tone | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 1-2:30pm
Many of us started playing the harp because we were drawn to the beautiful sound. Let's delve deeper into the ways we can adjust and enhance our tone. The angle of the finger, the articulation, the placement on the string and your gestures all have an impact on the tone of your music. We will work in a very detailed way to understand how you can change your tone for single notes and for an entire piece. Learn to go from a pretty tone to a gorgeous and beautiful tone.

Jewish Music & Modes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
Jewish music often has a distinctive and passionate sound created by the modes that it uses. What modes are commonly used in Jewish music? Sunita will give an overview and cultural signifcance of these modes and what will help make your arrangement or performance sound more authentic. You'll learn two traditional Jewish melodies that will give you the confidence to play for a Jewish wedding or audience. Add some Jewish flavors to your repertoire!

We All Make Mistakes | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 10-11:30am
We all make mistakes. The trick is covering them up and be able to continue playing. Of course, there are also many ways that you can learn to avoid mistakes in the first place and Sunita will talk about those. She'll give you the tricks that will help you past potential mishaps and also discuss the physical and mental pitfalls. You'll be able to raise questions in this live session.

Tokyo-born Tomoko Sugawara began playing Irish harp when she was 12 and graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts with concert harp as her main instrument. And in one of those wonderful life's moments that can change the musical path one is on, she discovered the ancient angular harp, called the kugo, and began her quest to revive the instrument. In 2007 The Asian Cultural Council gave her a grant to research it in New York. She plays a modern rendition of the instrument, which disappeared from the music world more than 300 years ago. She has played the kugo at major international venues, such as the World Harp Congress (in Prague and Amsterdam), Columbia, Harvard, and Princeton Universities, as well as The British Museum. She has two solo CDs of concert harp and the first ever recording of the kugo "Along the Silk Road".

Presenter website: Tomoko Sugawara

Along the Silk Road with the Kugo: Listening Room | Type: Concert | Level: Any | Method: Archive Video
The Angular Harp dominated in Asia since before 1900 BC and was played across the whole continent under various names. The Japanese called it “Kugo.” Tomoko Sugawara will play a kugo replica in this Listening Room experience. Her Chinese and Japanese repertoire hails from the 9th and the 11th centuries and her Ottoman pieces were written seven centuries later. She'll also include Spanish pieces from the 13th century. This is a coffeehouse-style informal concert. Bring your favorite beverage and sit, relax and enjoy the music, up close and personal. This listening room is approximately 60 minutes.

Ancient Chinese Music Revived! | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: On Video Anytime
The ancient Chinese Tang Dynasty was an apex of musical culture which attracted orchestras from adjacent Western regions and sent melodies to Eastern ones, such as Korea and Japan. Though their music disappeared from China itself in remained in Japan where it has recently been deciphered by musicologists. Tomoko has arranged them for harp. It is beautiful music from a distant past, and we can now enjoy it again.

Chinese & Japanese Court Music Rediscovered | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Archive Video
Discover how the court music of the ancient Tang Dynasty (700-1000CE), which disappeared from China, survived in Japan as the Emperor’s court music, Gagaku. These manuscripts were taken to Japan, where they survived. Scholars have transcribed them into Western music notation and now some of these simple and beautiful pieces have been arranged for harp by Tomoko, who presented and performed them last year at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Be part of the revival of this ancient music. Suitable workshop for beginners who can sight-read.

Ibero-Arabic Music in the Cantigas | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video Anytime
More than 400 Cantigas de Santa Maria, poems and songs, were composed by Spain's King Alfonso X in the 13th century in the Galicia/Portugal. Tomoko will take you through some really lovely pieces which are hybrids of Iberto-Arabic music. Sight reading is required to get the most out of this workshop. Anyone who wants to get the feel of medieval music on harp needs a few Cantigas in their repertoire. Any type of harp is welcome in this workshop. More Cantigas in Tomoko's workshop in our Archive.

Japanese Folk Songs | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: Archive Video
Japanese folk tunes are sometimes a bit sad, but beautiful. Most of the Japanese favorites are about the seasons. In this workshop you will learn beautiful melodies and use easy chords to mark the seasons. Sakura is a traditional Japanese folk song depicting spring and autumn.

Japanese Folk Songs on Family | Type: Hands-on | Level: Beg-Int | Method: On Video Anytime
You may have attended some of Tomoko's previous workshops on this music. Japanese folk tunes are sometimes a bit sad, but beautiful and they are frequently evocative of the seasons. In this workshop Tomoko will teach some beautiful melodies about families and use easy chords.

Christina Tourin has devoted her life to discovering the many dimensions of the harp, from early classical training as a young person, to the celtic tradition, composing, and using the harp for healing later, as an adult. She is the founder of both The Scottish Harp Society of America (1982) and the International Harp Therapy Program (1994). From playing to building, from history to healing, there is no aspect she has not explored. Living in different areas of New England for early years into adulthood, Tourin lived for many years in Vermont, playing with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and at the Trapp Family Lodge as well as raising children with her husband, Peter Tourin, a maker of early instruments. She has performed, taught and recorded CD’s: among them White Rose and The Emerald Harp . Dedication, experience and versatility are a few of the many words that describe Tourin’s journey with the harp.

Presenter website: Christina Tourin/Emerald Harp

Celtic Circle Play-Along | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 3-4:30pm
Christina will lead a "play-along" of many modal melodies that will get your improvisation skills a fun workout. She'll have a bevy of tunes in lead sheet format that you can download in advance of the workshop and she'll talk everyone through modulations that will make some magical modal sounds.

Celtic Music for Therapeutic Applications | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Based on her years of studying and living in Ireland and Scotland, Tina shares her Scoil (school) of Healing and Music and asks, "what can be more healing than the ancient tradition of the metamorphosis process from seed to tree to harp to song?" In this workshop, you'll be looking at, and playing, the lovely HarpTree Lament plus other tunes from the Isles. With Tina's guidance you'll see how the longing for harmony and deep rooted connections to nature bring forth a sense of connectedness. You'll learn how to combine these tunes into a sound experience by using techniques such as frictive intervals and nostalgic ornamentation while keeping the essence of the tune very simple.

Therapeutic Harp--Balance and Create Positive Energies | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Therapeutic harpists become familiar with many modes to use in their playing in different environments. In this workshop, Tina will share her research in the comparisons of the Eastern 5 Element modes put forth by the Shanghai Orchestra’s music for strokes, heart attacks, migraines and 5 element healing. Learn how those in our Western Greek modes can provide music to address depression, fear, lifelessness, anger, lack of structure and inflexibility by gently using the magic of the modes to address these issues. Find out and practice how you can balance a person’s energy. Guided melodies and improvisations will enhance music from both Eastern and Western cultures to bring forth the similarities. Sheet-music provided for sight-readers with beginner arrangements and chord charts included for “by ear” players.

Therapeutic Harp--Modes for Moods | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 1-2:30pm
Players of all levels who want to learn to improvise or expand their improvisation skills in a therapeutic setting will benefit from Tina's emphasis on playing by ear and understanding the structure of and quickly selecting the chords for accompanying the melodious modes. She will teach you to bring new sounds and how to match the mode of music to enhance a listener’s positive mood. Sight-readers and play-by-ear players will be comfortable in this workshop.

Dr. Dennis Waring is passionate about all kinds of music and ethnic cultures, from all over the world. Armed with a PhD from Wesleyan University, he's an educator, ethnomusicologist, author, instrument maker, collector, performer, and arts consultant. His World Music Teacher Institutes often take him from coast to coast and he has taken two four-month journeys around the world as shipboard ethnomusicologist with the University of Virginia’s Semester At Sea program. His multi-instrumental proclivities gives him a musical range that includes classical, folk, jazz, and ethnic idioms. That wide-ranging musical passion led him to create Waring Music to provide access to a broad spectrum of musical and multicultural resources to the general public as well as educational institutions. We welcome Dennis back as a vendor as well as a presenter with his ever-popular Build-a-Harp workshop, in which he assists interested participants in building their own harps right at the festival.

Presenter website: Dennis Waring

Build a Harp | Type: Demo | Level: Any | Method: On Video
Dennis Waring of Waring Harps will guide you through the construction of their 19-string, corrugated cardboard and wood harp, built from their unique kit. In the first part you'll build the harp and in the second part you'll string it and tune it. Purchase the kits before the festival for the discounted price of $125+$50 shipping.

Who doesn't know about Sylvia Woods? Even if you've just joined the harp community you've heard of Sylvia Woods. She was named one of the 45 "Most Influential Harp Forces of the 20th Century" by Harp Column magazine in 1999. There are few people in the lever harp world who have had such wide-ranging influence. Credit her with launching the folk harp renaissance that started in the 70s, not only as a performer (starting by touring with Robin Williamson and his Merry Band) and recording artist (CDs and awards too numerous to mention here!), but subsequently as a publisher and entrepreneur. Sylvia has written over 50 books and music sheets for the harp, including the best-selling tutor Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp, which has sold over 50,000 copies since its release in 1978. Sylvia has performed on stages throughout the North America and Europe, as well as on numerous recordings, radio and TV shows, and movie soundtracks such as Dead Poets Society. The Sylvia Woods Harp Center, now located in Hawaii, is a publishing company and a treasure-trove website of all things related to the harp! Sylvia was our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 2015.

Presenter website: Sylvia Woods Harp Center

Figuring Out Fingering | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/23/21 3-4:30pm
Do you avoid buying music that doesn’t have the fingering markings included? Do you have music that you have never learned because no fingerings are marked? Do you “not have a clue” about how to go about putting fingerings in a piece? Although fingerings are sometimes personal preference, there are some simple rules that Sylvia will share with you to help de-mystify this task. The whole class will work on fingering a variety of harp patterns, so please be sure to bring a pencil to this workshop. Bring your harp to work on the fingerings, or you can just play "air harp". Once we’re done, you’ll have the confidence to learn all those un-fingered pieces sitting under your music stand.

Transposing Tips & Tricks | Type: Hands-on | Level: Any | Method: Live on Zoom 07/24/21 3-4:30pm
Do you have pieces that you want to play, but they are in the wrong key for your harp? Are there pieces that need bass strings that you don’t have on your harp? Are you (or someone else) going to sing along, but the music is pitched too high or low? Sylvia will teach you how to transpose the music to solve all these problems! “Transposing” means to change the key of a piece, shifting all of the notes either higher or lower than the original music. If this sounds hard and scary, don’t worry! Sylvia will make it very easy! Please download the handout before you come to the workshop and be sure to have a pencil handy.