What a special treat to end off the day (Saturday night at Somerset Online): an O’Carolan play-along with a whole host of stellar Celtic musicians including Ann Heymann, Grainne Hambly, Sue Richards, Nancy Hurrell, Dominique Dodge, Philip Boulding, and Siobhan Armstrong (did I miss anyone??). Here’s a lovely version of Carolan’s Dream (played by Mark Harmer) to send you off to sleep.
Great set from Rachel Hair & Ron Jappy tonight for the Somerset concert, coming to us from the shores of Loch Lomond. This tune is from their album “Sparks” (2019). A soothing mellow balm for a drizzly Saturday evening.
Just finished a super challenging but fun bass hand workshop with Edmar Castaneda through Somerset Online. Talk about a radically different technique from what I’m used to using on Celtic harp! Not sure my wrist would be up to doing it full time, but it was a blast trying it out. Here Edmar is playing with Hiromi Castaneda. Both of them regularly stretch their respective instruments past where most people would normally go – a good reminder that harp and piano are nearly limitless in what they can do, if you give your imagination free rein.
Second jazz-themed Somerset Online workshop today was with Deborah Henson-Conant, a great introduction to jazz chord sequences using a novel and accessible approach based on hand/chord “shapes” that provide endless possibilities for improvisation. We’re all used to seeing Deborah with her trademark electric harp, but in this video we get to see pedal harpist Eleanor Turner playing one of Deborah’s pieces, while Deborah conducts the orchestra.
I went with a jazz theme for my Somerset workshops today. First was a jazzy approach to traditional music with Tristan Le Govic. One of the things I love about Somerset is how much joy and enthusiasm all the presenters bring to both their workshops and performances This is Tristan playing with “Trio Harpo” in 2019.
And now for something completely different… Edmar Castaneda and his quartet gave us a spirited send-off to end tonight’s Somerset Online concert. If you have a chance to watch them play live I’d highly recommend it, has to be seen to be believed! With his trio in 2014:
Wonderful lifetime achievement tribute to Ann Heymann during the Somerset Online concert tonight. Here is Ann playing at the Chapter House, St Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, Ireland, back in August 2014.
Just finished my first workshop of Somerset Online 2021! Learned this lovely piece from Tristan LeGovic, who tuned in all the way from Brittany. This version by the incomparable Alan Stivell.
Chris Newman & Maire Ni Chathasaigh, live at fiddlersgreen Oct. 23, 2009 (full concert)
Practicing with your eyes closed is super helpful, I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. Practicing in the dark works too! All sorts of good reason to be able to play without looking. Encourages you to look up at your audience & fellow players, makes sight reading easier, and comes in really handy when you find yourself at a gig with low lighting.