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
Aryeh undertook classical training on the violin at age 3. He studied under various master violinists and started exploring various ethnic and international musical genres as a teenager. He took up the harp at 15 and eventually taught himself to play a variety of stringed instruments including cittern and mandolin, and more recently the Swedish Nyckelharpa. He works full time as both a performer and audio engineer (which is why you should take his Ready, Set, Record workshop if you want to do a professional recording). He has 18 albums to his credit and two music books. He tours full time as a solo artist, with Lisa Lynne, Patrick Ball and the Windham Hill Winter Solstice Tours. In 2016 he and Lisa did a West Coast tour, which they highlighted in an article in the Folk Harp Journal capturing the flavor of what it was like being a touring musician "on the road." Grab a cup of coffee and watch their video of the tour.
Presenter website: Aryeh Frankfurter
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 Music
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 has led the Teacher's Symposium for 2 years. 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
Dennis Gormley is a talented multi-instrumentalist who has been a fixture on the Philadelphia folk music scene for over 40 years. He has been performing traditional Irish music with his wife (and festival director) Kathy DeAngelo as McDermott's Handy since 1978. He is a well-respected teacher of traditional music and teaches at the young musicians session at the Irish Center in Philadelphia. He and Kathy anchor NJ's longest continuously running Irish session, now at the Treehouse in Audubon NJ. Dennis and Kathy were inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Comhaltas Hall of Fame in 2014 and into the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame in November 2015. McDermott's Handy has two CDs, Come Take the Byroads and Bound for Amerikay and Dennis has many other recording credits in other genres with other artists as well. Besides presenting non-harp workshops at the festival, you'll frequently see Dennis being busy with festival logistics as part of our very dedicated festival staff.
Presenter website: McDermott's Handy
Coming from a small village in the Scottish Highlands and now settled in cosmopolitan Glasgow reflects the trajectory of Rachel Hair's musical development. Steeped in traditional music yet highly contemporary when she wants to be! She started playing clarsach at 10 and grew up in Scotland's Fèis movement, a network of Gaelic-based traditional music schools across the Highlands and Islands with musical mentors like Allison Kinnaird, Corrina Hewat, Bill Taylor, and Wendy Stewart. Rachel now tours for a greater part of the year and spends quite a bit of time teaching harp on the Isle of Man and is involved in the Manx folk revival there. Rachel currently performs with acoustic guitarist Ron Jappy and they enjoy touring their eclectic mix of snappy Strathspeys, heartfelt airs, rip-roaring reels and chirpy jigs. She has been lucky enough to teach and perform in many countries throughout the world and was nominated Best Tutor at the 2016 Scots Trad Awards. In her Rachel Hair Trio, which was nominated as Folk Band of the Year at the 2011 Scots Trad Music Awards. This year she'll be teaming up in concert with her musical partner, guitarist Ron Jappy. She has 4 CDs to her credit as well as 4 music books, Mostly Scottish Harp Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Classagh, Music for Manx Celtic Harp Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 Rachel is actively involved in running the Edinburgh Harp Festival. She'll be performing on our stage with Ron this weekend.
Presenter website: Rachel Hair