Masters of Celtic harp perform at Skye Theatre Thursday

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SOUTH CARTHAGE – New England Celtic Arts will host “Masters of the Celtic Harp” Gráinne Hambly and William Jackson at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center in South Carthage, Maine on Thursday, March 19 starting at 7 p.m. A pre-show jam will start at 6:15 p.m. Audience members are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam for a few minutes with the artists.

Quite simply, Gráinne Hambly and William Jackson are two of the foremost harpers of Ireland and Scotland. Combining their extraordinary talents on harp as well as concertina, tin whistle and bouzouki, The Masters of the Celtic Harp, have been performing all over the country and dazzling audiences with their artistry. 

Since touring extensively throughout the United States for the past eight years, Gráinne Hambly has not only garnered an ever-growing following of devoted harp enthusiasts but has managed to crossover and capture the Irish music fan with the taste for the fast, driving reels and jigs of traditional music. She has broken the genteel parlor image and elevated the stature of the harp right up there with the fiddles and pipes in the realm of dynamic dance music. Add to that the unsurpassed expressive quality the harp has in her hands in the rendition of age-old airs and laments and you have the masterful performance of an experienced and renowned player.

Mayo-born and now living in Galway, Gráinne has not rested on the laurels of winning the senior All-Ireland titles on harp and concertina in 1994 and then the prestigious Keadue and Granard harp competitions. She released her third CD, The Thorn Tree in 2006, which joins her two critically acclaimed CDs, Between the Showers and Golden Lights Green Shadows, as “must haves” for Irish harp fans. She has also recorded with numerous other artists. She has also published two books of her arrangements. She tours most of the year and has appeared at most of the major harp and Irish music festivals in the U.S. and Europe.

William Jackson of Glasgow has been at the forefront of Scottish traditional music for nearly 30 years. In addition to his stature as one of the leading harpers and multi-instrumentalists in Scotland, William has gained an international reputation as a composer. His “Land of Light” won the international competition in 1999 as the new song for Scotland.

William was a founding member and creative tour de force of Ossian in 1976, which became one of Scotland’s best-loved traditional bands. The band, whose music influenced a generation of musicians, extensively toured the U.S. and Europe. Besides harp, he also plays tin whistle and bouzouki.

While working with Ossian, he also established himself as a composer and he has steadily knit together Celtic influences with classical instrumentation in a style uniquely his own. He has an impressive list of commissioned works and subsequent recordings, including “The Wellpark Suite,” “St. Mungo,” and “Inchcolm,” a 1996 commission from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra called “A Scottish Island” and his latest commission, “Duan Albanach,” created for the 2002 opening of the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. In November 2007, he performed with the Asheville

Symphony in a debut of his “Scottish Fantasia.” His latest CD release is “The New Harp,” featuring his own compositions as well as traditional pieces. He has composed music in Scotland for the BBC and Scottish television and recently directed and performed the music for “The Battle of the Clans” for the History Channel. William’s performance on harp, whistle and bodhran is featured on the soundtrack of A Shot at Glory, starring Robert Duval and Michael Keaton, which was filmed in Scotland.

Skye Theatre is located 3 miles West of East Dixfield village at 2 Highland Drive off Winter Hill Rd and US RT. 2 in South Carthage. Ticket price is $10 at the door. Reservations are required for this show. Call New England Celtic Arts at (207) 562-4445 for reservations and directions. More information at www.necelticarts.com

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