Heart of the Harp | TheUnion.com

Heart of the Harp

Chris Caswell is a transcendent player of the Celtic harp.

He will share his love of this beautiful instrument Friday at “Heart of the Harp” concert and guerrilla music theory workshop in Nevada City.

Casewell is a respected performer on the Scottish bagpipes, Irish flute, tinwhistle and bodhran (Irish frame drum). A true Celtic bard, folk musician and singer, Chris is a natural raconteur, knowledgeable historian and musicologist. His performances cast a bright spell through the music, his wit and obvious delight in playing.

Chris has devoted his life to music in all its aspects. From the time he was very young, Chris inherited a love of both classical and traditional arts, especially the playing of the harp, an instrument that had lain dormant for several hundred years in most of the British Isles. During a renaissance that occurred in his native Northern California in the ’70s, Chris was a seminal force in re-introducing the Celtic harp to American players, both as a player and an instrument maker. During the past 35 years, Chris has built over a 1000 harps for musicians all over the world.

In his teen years, Chris studied in Scotland with Donald MacPherson at the College of Piping in Glasgow and later with Donald Shaw Ramsay in Northern California. He studied harp with Allison Kinnaird in Edinburgh and worked with folklorist Peter Kennedy in Devon, England. This training served him well during his years of touring America and Europe with Robin Williamson and His Merry Band and Caswell Carnahan. More recently, he has augmented his earlier college composition studies by working with the well-known composer and teacher Allaudin Mathieu.

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