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Irish Traditional Music for the Harp



Alec Finn (bouzouki, guitar, tenor guitar), Cormac Cannon,(uilleann pipes, whistles), and Martin Hughes (flute).

"Harping On is a Daedalus style amble through the urban and rural geography of Galway - a music cartographer's delight",

'The Irish Times, 2002

"In Kathleen Loughnane's hands (the harp) is a precision instrument, swift and sparkling" Hot Press, 2002

Carolan's Concerto:

Carolan's Farewell to Music:

Poll Ha'penny:

  1. The Two William Davises
  2. Maurice O'Connor
  3. The Battle of Aughrim
  4. Madamn Maxwell / Courtney's Favourite
  5. Taimse in Chodladh
  6. Henry McDermott Roe
  7. Carolan's Concerto
  8. Corelli (1653 - 1713)
  9. Carolan's Farewell to Music
  10. The Foggy Dew
  11. Tiarna Mhuigheo
  12. Planxty Finn
  13. Mr O'Connor and Jig
  14. Molly MacAlpin
  15. Poll Ha'penny / Willie Clancy's Poll Ha'penny

Press Reviews


Acclaimed both as a solo player and for her work with the group Dordon, harpist Kathleen Loughnane has already made two fine solo albums. Affairs Of The Harp and Harping On.

Like its predecessors, Harp To Heart was co-produced by Loughnane with De Dannan's Alee Finn. The arrangements are kept nicely varied, with Loughnane's deft, precise playing always to the fore, as is only right.

A high point is her adaptation of the Allegro from Corelli's Sonata XI, originally written for violin and harpsichord. Performed here on flute, whistle and harp, it loses none of its baroque elegance in the translation. EIGHTPOINT FIVE/TEN

Irish Music Magazine Dec 05

Many people will know Kathleen Loughnane from the all-woman group, Dordan, which she co-founded in 1990. Kathleen Loughnane is from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, and began playing the harp at an early age and has been based in Galway since 1982.

She has a particular interest in arranging traditional Irish dance tunes and airs for the harp and researching the music of the Irish harper composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. Her arrangements for harp have appeared in several publications.

Her new CD "Harp to Heart" is her third album and features harping tunes from Edward Bunting's collecting work in 1792 and tunes from the aural tradition. Kathleen says: "In the former case, I have tried to imagine how they might have been played had the tradition remained unbroken." And isn't that what we all wonder? How the harp music of the distinctive Irish harping tradition might have sounded two hundred years ago before it died out in the early decades of the 19th century. But however they might have sounded, and they were noted for their skill and dexterity, Kathleen's playing is wonderfully fluid and full of 'elegant musicality', a phrase I once 1 heard an old man use to describe a musician's performance.

Kathleen is not alone on this CD; with her are friends, Alec Finn (bouzouki, guitar, tenor guitar), Cormac Cannon,(uilleann pipes, whistles), and Martin Hughes (flute). Their ensemble playing is very pleasing and perhaps could be said to be evocative of the 'big house' gathering of musicians described by people like the Tyrone harper, Arthur O'Neill(1734-1818) in his memoirs. Paul Mulligan of Mount Scribe Studio, Kinvara, Co. Galway, is to be commended for his sound engineering and mixing skills; there is a delightful and satisfying clarity everywhere, not least in the balance he gets from the solo harp playing.

There are detailed notes accompanying this CD and they are full of useful and fascinating information. Take track 1, for instance, where Kathleen tells us that the tune,"The Two William Davises", is heard both in Ireland and Scotland. "As an O'Carolan tune," she says, "this is known as 'Planxty Davis', but it would seem that it was composed by his predecessor, Thomas Connellan, from County Sligo, Ireland." And she adds that in Scotland, where Connellan spent some years, it is known as "The Battle of Killecrankie". There are several other Carolan pieces,and with a musical nod of deference to the great man, there is even one tune called "Planxty Finn" which Kathleen wrote for what she says was Alec Finn's "?th birthday"! Aidan O'Hara

"In 1792, Edward Bunting, then a young assistant organist at St. Anne's Church, Belfast, noted down the music of the harpers attending the Belfast Harp Festival. These musicians represented a distinctive Irish harping tradition dating back at least to the 12th century. When, this tradition of harping died out in the early decades of the 19th century, Bunting's collection remained as an invaluable record.

Continuity within the instrumental tradition as a whole would have resulted in the sharing of tunes and similarities in the manner of their interpretation. With the demise of the harping tradition, some of the tunes lived on in the repertoire of the uilleann pipes and fiddle, to be 'minded', to be developed and re-shaped.

But many lovely harping tunes remained on the page, the details of their nuancing and interpretation fading from memory.

On this CD I have included harping tunes both from Bunting's collection and from the aural tradition. In the former case, I have tried to imagine how they might have been played had the tradition remained unbroken". Kathleen Loughnane.

Price: £13.99

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