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Kein anderes Musikinstrument repräsentiert die Geschichte Irlands so eindrucksvoll-wehmütig wie die Keltische Harfe. Einst stolzes Soloinstrument an Königshöfen (bis zum 12. Jahrhundert), wurde sie zunehmend zum Begleitinstrument fahrender Sänger. Flöten, Pfeifen, Dudelsäcke drängten sich in den Vordergrund. Der Freiheitskampf der Iren gegen die Engländer spiegelt sich durch die Jahrhunderte im Harfenspiel. Doch ob allein oder mit anderen Instrumenten, die Harfe klingt stets nach Hoffnung, nach Neugeburt. Und das meint der Titel. Fiona ist Patrick Balls gerade geborene Tochter.

the project

In 1983, Patrick Ball released the first record in his Celtic Harp series. Now, ten years and five releases later, he has completed his most personal work to date. Fiona is a collection of traditional songs that includes some of the most beautiful and haunting tunes of the Celtic world—and is named after Patrick Ball's new daughter, Fiona.

For many years, the Celtic harp, with its unique resonance and clear, bell–like sound was an important part of Celtic life, especially in Ireland and in France's Celtic province, Brittany. The few harps which survived into the 20th century, did so as museum pieces, and their incredibly large and varied repertoire began to sink into obscurity, too. Naturally, as musicians and listeners have rediscovered the beauty of these instruments, the old songs and laments have been rediscovered as well.

On Fiona, Ball includes two of Ireland's most enduring and memorable folk songs: She Moved Through the Fair, an oft recorded classic which can now finally be heard in its original form, and Brian Boru's March, an ancient tune marking the brief unification of Ireland in the 11th century. Traditional songs from Scotland and Brittany also appear, along with a work by Turlough O'Carolan, whose popular music has been a feature of each of Patrick Ball's six recordings for Celestial Harmonies/Fortuna. Ball's wire-strung harp is the focus of this recording, but the traditional Irish pipes, whistles, and fiddle provide an occasional complement on several pieces.

the artist

The renaissance of the Celtic harp is still a fairly recent development, and in North America it is Patrick Ball who is the unrivalled leader in bringing this ancient instrument to new life. Working with Maine's leading harp builder, Jay Witcher, Patrick Ball has brought the music of a bygone era to an enthusiastic modern audience.

Following in the Irish tradition, Ball is not only a harpist, but also a gifted storyteller. He has recorded traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Brittany, Belgium, England, and even contemporary works written in traditional style for the Celtic harp.

Also appearing on FIONA are Tim Britton, who plays the tin whistle and the uillean pipes (small Irish bagpipes which are played under the arm), and Kevin Carr, who plays the fiddle. In addition to their instrumental talents, all three musicians are accomplished arrangers.

biography

discography

tracklist

1 Castle Kelly 3'56"
2 She Moved Through the Fair 6'34"
3 May Morning Dew 5'12"
4 The Fairy Queen 5'14"
5 Arran Boat Song 4'55"
6 The Twisting of the Rope 2'29"
7 The Buttonhole 3'58"
8 Limerick's Lamentation 6'30"
9 Carolan's Cup 3'36"
10 L'heritiere de Keroulez (The Pretty Maid Milking Her Cow) 5'30"
11 Farewell to the Land of Mist 2'10"
  Total Time: 50'37"