Mudcat Café message #3780513 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #159372   Message #3780513
Posted By: keberoxu
22-Mar-16 - 08:44 PM
Thread Name: 'All the dear Spinning Eileens' (Irish harpists)
Subject: RE: 'All the dear Spinning Eileens'
ITMA board member Aibhlín McCrann had an article published, January 2006, in the Journal of Music [Ireland]. This article can be viewed online at the Journal's website. Herewith, a relevant quote.

How is it that the Irish harp, our acknowledged national instrument for more than one thousand years, and untouched even by the 'Riverdance' revolution, is only now beginning to assume an authoritative voice and [to] come to prominence? The development of the Irish harp to the point at where it stands today has undoubtably been beleaguered by conflicting social and cultural standards of harpers themselves, other traditional musicians, and various commentators. The efforts of the Ní Shé sisters, Mary O'Hara, Kathleen Watkins, Deirdre O'Callaghan, and the 'castle' players in the 'sixties and the early 'seventies contributed greatly to the raising of public awareness of the harp. While they represented a certain genre of performance, and certainly developed a national identity for the instrument, it has taken many years to cast off the somewhat clichéd "Irish colleen" image of a young girl posturing behind a harp, twinkling at captive audiences as she sings about Leprechauns and crocks of gold.

There is one sentence, further on in the same article, which touches on the tension, already mentioned in earlier posts, between two organizations of musicians in Ireland.

Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann, with whom founding members of Cairde na Cruite shared a somewhat tempestuous relationship due to deeply held philosophical differences of musical opinion, began to feature the harp at Fleadhanna Ceoil competitions [in the 1970's].