What is your name / where are you from?
My name is Doreen Smith and I am from South Wales, though now living in Northern Ireland.
How did you start playing the harp?
I worked for many years in South America and whilst in Paraguay, I got to see and hear beautiful harp playing. I also listened to harp music in South Wales as a child. When I came to Northern Ireland and retired, I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to learn. That was 5 years ago. I looked for a harp teacher and was told to contact Eithne Benson who was “the pedigree” in harp. I did and my life changed. Eithne taught me to “feel” the music. She brought fun, laughter, discipline and technique to my learning.
What does the harp mean to you?
When I practice the harp – I feel I am in touch with my Soul. It doesn’t matter if I am practicing the same bar 10 times – and I often have to do that – the experience is the same. I become one with my Soul mediated through the sounds of the harp strings. It is a mindful experience. There is no other experience like that!
What do you like most about Lá na Cruite | Harp Day?
I like Harp day for a few reasons:
1) It brings recognition to a great instrument and allows experts/professionals/amateurs/teachers to showcase themselves.
2) It brings joy to the listeners
3) It enables all of us to recognise, appreciate and acknowledge the beauty of this great instrument and it’s players
4) It brings together the diversity of harps and the global numbers of people who have succumbed to the magic of this wonderful instrument. There are no boundaries on Harp Day!