Co Monaghan Harper Join Harps Alive Festival Lineup This Weekend

Co Monaghan Harper Eilís Lavelle will be performing as part of the Harps Alive│An Chruit Bheo│Harps Leevin festival in Belfast this weekend.

Organised by the Harps Alive partnership, the festival will bring together the finest harpers from across the island to recognise the landmark event that collected music more than two centuries ago for future harpers to learn from and perform.

Having already opened with events in Magilligan and Mussenden Template last weekend, the festival represents five days filled with music, history and heritage. The majority of the festival will take place across a number of sites in Belfast, before culminating with an event in Dublin on July 24.

Eilís began playing the harp at a young age, learning the instrument at the Armagh Piper’s Club. She is currently studying for a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, focusing on the Edward Bunting manuscripts.

Eilís will be performing alongside Luke Webb and Lauren O’Neill at a workshop and concert at St Joseph’s Church, Sailortown, on Sunday 17 July. The workshop, Taking the Tune: 3 Tunes to Go, will challenge harpers to see how quickly they can pick up a tune from Eilís and the other harpers.

Harp Moments: Sharing Our Harp Music will follow this free workshop, where Eilís, Luke and Lauren will perform their favourite Bunting tunes.

Discussing the upcoming event, Eilís said that she is “delighted” to be performing at Harps Alive, adding: “It is fabulous to take part in the commemoration of the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly.”

Organised by the Harps Alive partnership, the festival will bring together the finest harpers from across the island to recognise the landmark event that collected music more than two centuries ago for future harpers to learn from and perform.

The partnership between Harp Ireland and Reclaim The Enlightenment is to mark 230 years since the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast. In 1792 the Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast brought together 11 harpers, seven of which were blind and the eldest Denis Hempson was 97 at the time.

Aibhlín McCrann, Chair of Cruit Éireann Harp Ireland, said that celebrating the anniversary presented a unique musical opportunity for the harping community.

“We are delighted to bring harpers from all over Ireland together to mark 230 years since the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in Belfast” she said.

“Our harping heritage transcends boundaries and has really connected the partners, north and south.

“It is wonderful to hear the harpers’ music reflecting our living tradition and to see that there is so much interest in it. We are looking forward to welcoming audiences across the city of Belfast to our concerts, talks and exhibitions and in Dublin later in the month.”

John Gray, Chair of Reclaim the Enlightenment said the Harps Alive│An Chruit Bheo│Harps Leevin festival is rooted in musical history.

“In bringing more than 50 harpers to Belfast, the festival will create the largest-ever such assembly in the city,” he said.

“It will be a celebration of the heritage of the harp and the contemporary revival of harp playing, and when it concludes we hope to have created more awareness of the harp tradition with the public and leave a lasting legacy.”

For tickets to Eilís’ show, and for more information about the festival, go to http://harpsalive.com