Harp Day North 2020

Photo by Tony Hendron

Harp Day North welcomes a Storm of Harps.

More than 45 intrepid harp players braved the elements and faced down Storm Ciara to spend a wonderful day of harping in the EA Music Education Centre in Portadown on Sunday February 9th. Led and coordinated by Eithne Benson for Cruit Éireann, Harp Ireland and graciously hosted by Jan Hutchinson and her colleague Nuala Curran, the occasion was a great success. We were delighted to welcome Siobhán Armstrong, Cormac de Barra, Dr Janet Harbison, pedal harpist Gráinne Meyer and Ábhann, South Ulster and Elver Ensembles to Portadown for a second year, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up and making music together with some of our finest performers, presenters and harp makers, who had made the journey to join us.

As Aibhlín McCrann, Chair of CÉHI mentioned, it was our first major event since the recent decision by UNESCO to recognise Irish harping on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. What better way to spend it than with harp players of every age and standard; living proof that the harp is going from strength to strength in the north.

An additional bonus was a film crew from TG4 to capture some of the harping activity in the north in preparation for the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Gala Concert at Belfast’s Waterfront on 23rd February, where Laoise Kelly will be honoured with Ceoltóir na Bliana/Musician of the Year for her contribution to Irish harping. Congratulations to her from all of us up north on her marvellous achievement.

The day finished with a concert showcasing the diverse music, style and talent of the guest artists and the various harp ensembles. A round of applause to Eithne Benson for her tireless work to make the day such a success. Plans are already afoot for next year so don’t miss it!