The Celtic Junction

Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN, 55104

The Jacobite Harp: Seductive sounds and stories from eighteenth century Ireland with Ann & Charlie Heymann

Saturday October 25 at 7:30pm, Sunday October 26 at 3pm.  $10 admission at the door.

The Gaelic harp is depicted on every Irish coin and passport and is perhaps best known outside of Ireland on every bottle from Ireland’s Guinness brewery. However its voice was lost publicly for over two hundred years until Ann Heymann became involved. A native Minnesotan, Ann Heymann has played a crucial role in bringing the Gaelic harp's voice to life; indeed Scotland’s Harp Society Comunn na Clarsaich says "Ann Heymann is the pioneer who brought the Gaelic harp back to a living tradition." 

Mid-eighteenth century Ireland was an environment of oppression and fear, when infamous Penal Laws were being enforced and both school and mass were held outdoors away from prying eyes and ears of authority. However the southwest of Ireland managed to nourish poets and harpers for a significant period through triennial poetic conventions and sympathetic patrons such as the Rev. Charles Bunworth of Buttevant, Co. Cork. Bunworth was a judge at these bardic “contentions” and at least fifteen harpers bequeathed him their harps when they died. Unfortunately these harps did not survive, but his personal harp did and today it is the only Gaelic harp found outside of the British Isles (at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston). 

In this program Ann will perform on a replica of this Bunworth harp, and all music will be that which would have been heard and performed in Ireland during Bunworth’s life in the mid-18th century, including music of Carolan, Ireland’s most famous harper, and a song in the original “limerick” metre. Please come and sample a bit of 18th century Irish soundscape! 

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.