Harps for Heritage 2023 | The Schoolhouse at Muckross | Sunday 20 August, 3:30pm

Harp Ireland presents HARPS FOR HERITAGE 2023 at The Schoolhouse, Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms, Killarney on Sunday 20th August, at 3:30pm.
Featuring Paul Dooley (Early Irish Harp), Kseniya Rusnak (Bandura) • Aisling Urwin & Niamh O’Brien (Irish Harps). Special guests Siamsa Tíre National Folk Theatre.
Admission FREE. Donations welcome at https://www.harpireland.ie/make-a-donation/

Register at eventbrite.ie

Paul Dooley & Kseniya Rusnack

Ennistymon-based Paul Dooley is one of the leading exponents of the Irish harp in its historical form and style – using a metal-strung harp, playing with the fingernails and damping unwanted string resonance with the fingertips. He has studied the construction of medieval Irish harps in Dublin during the early 1980s and has built several harps.

Kseniya Rusnack fled her home after war reached the Ukrainian capital. She now lives in Lisdoonvarna, where her talent for music has drawn her into the thriving trad scene in the area. Alongside early Irish harper, Paul Dooley, Kseniya performed at the Willie Clancy Summer School and, recently, wowed audiences at Glór in Ennis.

Kseniya, who was born in the Cherkasy region in central Ukraine, is a musician and singer. She credits, the bandura, a Ukrainian stringed folk instrument, with opening up the world of music to her. The outbreak of war saw Kseniya flee the capital, Kyiv, with her mother, her five-year-old son and a few precious possessions, including her bandura.

Kseniya described the decision to leave as “not easy, but necessary”. “I had a dream to visit Ireland due to the fact that I own not only a bandura, but also a harp,” Kseniya said. “That is why Ireland interested me in culture, musical art, and the Irish harp. I could never have thought that I would be here and be able to get this cultural experience.”

“I was very excited to meet Paul Dooley, an expert on the early Irish harp, who lives near me in Clare, and our acquaintance grew into joint creative activity, rehearsals, joint music making, and exchange of experiences.”

“Irish traditional music impresses and fascinates. It is a beautiful and unique heritage of the Irish people and I’m glad to have the opportunity to join and play music.”

Paul invited Kseniya to play at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy in July and their performances created a storm of appreciation.

Kseniya paid tribute to Paul’s talent and guidance. “Paul’s playing skill, finger dexterity and energy are amazing,” she said. “Listening to his music, you immerse yourself in the exciting world of sounds that touch the strings of my soul. Therefore, joint music-making is a powerful exchange of musical energy, musical culture, which is the property of such different, but spiritually united peoples, the countries of Ireland and Ukraine.”

(from an interview in the The Clare Champion)

Niamh O’Brien & Aisling Urwin

Niamh O’Brien
Niamh is harp player, singer and composer from County Limerick, Ireland. She completed her undergraduate degree in Irish Music and Dance at the Irish World Academy, UL, in 2014. Since graduating she has recorded and performed across Europe and the U.S with various groups including AnTara, Alyth McCormack, The Chieftains and contemporary trad trio, Hoodman Blind. She currently lives in Limerick where she is studying for her PhD.

Aisling Urwin
Aisling Urwin is a harper-songwriter-teacher from Kenmare in the South West of Ireland. With a background in Irish Traditional Music, Aisling strives to paint the harp in new colours, challenging traditional views in an effort to stretch people’s preconceptions of what the harp should sound like, taking it into new sonic spaces. Aisling’s music combines the organic sounds of lever harp and natural vocals with rich electronic sounds and textures.

Siamsa Tíre National Folk Theatre
Siamsa Tíre, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland, is Ireland’s only traditional Irish arts theatre company. They provide live family entertainment through storytelling and performances of traditional Irish music, song and dance. A core impetus for the group is the preservation of some of the traditions in music, song and dance in North Kerry that were in danger of disappearing. Chief among these was the ‘Munnix’ style of dancing as taught by the travelling dance master, Jeremiah Molyneaux, or Jerry Munnix as he was known. Siamsa founder Fr Pat Ahern believed that ‘There is a sense in which we do not own our culture, we are only trustees. The treasure is only on loan and we must take it, refurbish it in the light of our experience and hand it on.’  Join the musicians and dancers from Siamsa Tíre as they bring this step-dancing style and music to Muckross House and Traditional Farms.