O’Carolan Night with Cavan Comhaltas and American Harpist, Ann Heymann


22 November 2009
4:00 PM
Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel
Martin Donohoe
086 234 2270
O’Carolan Night with Cavan Comhaltas and American Harpist, Ann Heymann

Cavan Town Comhaltas & Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel, Cavan are privileged to celebrate Turlough O’Carolan and the Harp Music Tradition that goes back to the 17th Century on the Farnham estate with a visit Direct from USA of Gaelic Harper Ann Heymann on Sunday November, 22nd at the Farnham House music room at the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel Cavan Town

Celebrations start at 4pm with a host of Guests including Ann Heymann the traditional wire-strung /Gaelic Harper from Minnesota USA and her husband Charlie Heymann, Multi instrumentalist/singer From Ireland.

Other guests taking part include:-

Sabina McCague Harp Monaghan
Aoife Murray Singer & Fintan McManus Bouzouki
Cathal Lynch Traditional Singer Tyrone
Seamus Fay Cavan Lilter & Trevor Bury Bodhran
Kavan Donohoe Harp & Savannah Donohoe Flute Cavan
Harpers from Cavan /Monaghan/Meath/Longford
& Co Cavan Comhaltas musicians young and old

Performance begins at 4.00pm in the 16th Century Farnham House
The day concludes with a session for all in Wine Goose Cellar Bar in the Radisson Blu at 6.00pm

Ann is recognized as the foremost exponent of the wire-strung harp in the world. Through her knowledge of traditional music and her study of the surviving music and manuscripts, Ann has re-invented the techniques necessary to play this majestic instrument. Ann, twice harp champion in Ireland, is also author of the Harper’s bible, Secrets of the Gaelic Harp. She has been instrumental in resurrecting the “true” Irish harp.

Harping was a sacred art form in Gaelic society, with its own mystique and symbolism. “In the folklore of the instrument, the harp had music for crying, music for laughing and music for sleeping,” Heymann said. “The first was to play for people who were injured or in pain, women in labour or men injured on the battlefield. The second was music of vigour, music of life, dance music, war music. The music for sleeping was actually music for death.”

The traditional harp (also called the wire-strung or Gaelic harp) is as different from the neo-Irish harp “as the piano is from the organ or as the electric guitar is from the acoustic guitar,” she said. “They really have different styles, different sounds and different repertoires.” The Gaelic harp has brass wire strings and is played with the fingernails, she explained. Neo-Irish harps have gut or nylon strings and are played with the finger pads. “Wire strings ring out for a long time,” she said. “It’s a bright metallic sound, said to sound like bells. And since I’m playing with my nails, I don’t need the great hand motions. I’m closer to the strings

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Turlough O’Carolan (Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin) was born in 1670 near Nobber, County Meath and died March 25, 1738 at the home of his patron Mrs. MacDermott Roe in Alderford, County Roscommon. He was one of the last Irish harpers who composed and a significant number of his works survive in single line melody. Carolan’s fame was not due to his skill with the harp (having started at 18), but to his gift for composition and verse. Carolan’s father, John, was either a farmer or a blacksmith. (An iron founder according to Britannica, subsistence farmer according to New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians). John Carolan moved his family to Ballyfarnon when Carolan was fourteen to take employment with the MacDermott Roe family. Mrs. MacDermott befriended the boy and gave him an education. Around the age of 18 Carolan was blinded by smallpox.

Even before his illness Carolan had shown talent for poetry and may have been taught, even before his illness, by a harper Named MacDermott Roe (possibly Ruari dall who lived with the MacDermott Roes). Carolan studied for three years at the end of which Mrs. MacDermott Roe gave him a harp, a horse and some money to begin his career as an itinerant harper. For forty-five years Carolan would travel throughout Ireland composing tunes (planxties) for his patrons.

His first patron, George Reynolds of County Leitrim suggested Carolan try composing. With this encouragement Carolan composed Sheebeg and Sheemore. Thereafter Carolan composed tunes for his patrons, usually composing tunes on his journeys. He traveled widely throughout Ireland.

Carolan wrote the tune Madam Maxwell for Judith Barry in1720 in Farnham House Cavan. Judith was the daughter and heir of James Barry of Newton Barry, County Wexford and wife to John Maxwell-whose title was Baron Farnham of Farnham, County Cavan John represented the county of Cavan in Parliament from 1727 until his elevation to the peerage of Ireland on 6 May 1756.

Admission to the events are free and all welcome to view the house and hear some beautiful music and song.

Event Enquiries, contact 086 234 2270

Hotel Enquiries:
Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel
Farnham Estate
Tel: +353 (0) 49 4377700
Hotel Website

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