Monday, February 23, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day at Bistro Maison

The wedding (my daughter's) was lovely :) We all had a grand time, the harping went well, she was a beautiful bride, etc! The music all came together, & things are returning to what passes for normal.

Deborah from Bistro Maison, a lovely French restaurant in McMinnville, called to invite me to play harp for Saint Patrick's Day dinner, Tue March 17. A few years ago I played for this dinner, & it was very popular - a full house in a lovely setting with great food, & harp - what's not to like?
So if you're thinking of going out for the evening, & would like to hear some Celtic music, played on an Irish style Celtic harp, Bistro Maison is the place!
Most of the tunes will be Irish, with a smattering of other Celtic pieces.

Of course, any harper might have some mixed feelings about P
atrick himself ( ~ 400 AD) - who drove the 'snakes' (or druids?) out of Ireland. Harpers, who held the traditional stories & songs in their heads, were often persecuted by those wanting to spread the 'new religion.'

From Alison Vardy's website: "The period starting from the 1600s during English rule in Ireland was difficult for Irish harpers as the harp as a folk and court instrument was suppressed to prevent a resurgence of nationalism. Harps were burnt and harpers executed. The tragic extinction of this harping tradition at the end of the eighteenth century had a number of causes: the Angloization of the Irish (and Scottish) cultures, the increased popularity of step-dancing and the fiddle, and the inability of the harp to play the musical accidentals required for classical music, which started coming in to vogue in Dublin and Edinburgh during the then Baroque era. Only in Wales was the Folk harp tradition unbroken."

In the late 18th century, Edward Bunting began collecting traditional tunes, including many by Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), the blind Irish folk harpist. My set will include a number of these, & other Irish & Celtic pieces, including some from Wales & from Brittany & Celtic Spain!

Some of 'Patrick's Breastplate' comes from an old Gaelic blessing:

I bind to myself today:
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,

the brightness of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The flash of lightening,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea
The stability of Earth,
& the compactness of Rocks.

In a workshop with a Gaelic woman raised as a Druid, I learned a dance (similar to TaiChi) that accompanies this blessing. Harps have become the national instrument of Ireland, & I've collected a few harp items from Ireland & England this winter, including these two bells.

1 comment:

Alette Siri Ane said...

I so wish I had the means to hire you this june my daughter Ane is getting married.It will be outside .The church is not involved,but we will make it a fantastic occasion .So sad you are on the other side of the Ocean!