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Celtic Harp, Vol. 2: From A Distant Time
Genres: Folk, World Music, New Age
The lilting, crystalline tone of the Celtic harp must be one of the most joyful sounds in mankind's history. The harp originated a thousand years ago in ancient Ireland; it shone through the age of the bards and brought... more »
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The lilting, crystalline tone of the Celtic harp must be one of the most joyful sounds in mankind's history. The harp originated a thousand years ago in ancient Ireland; it shone through the age of the bards and brought hope during long years of occupation and oppression. As it is a challenging instrument to play well, nearly two centuries ago the wire-strung Celtic harp was abandoned in favor of the easier to play, more subdued gut-strung neo-Irish harp. Patrick Ball would not let that sweet voice fall silent. He brings to audiences world-wide the ancient Celtic harp that "has always been loved and celebrated by the Irish people for its mystical power to enchant them, to draw them into realms beyond thought, and to refresh their spirit." That is exactly what Patrick Ball accomplishes in these five sparkling recordings. Listeners are enchanted by his performances. They are drawn to the emotional portrait that Patrick paints with each piece, romantic, melancholy or jubilant. Although Patrick is a delightful storyteller with words, these instrumental works tell their own stories, requiring nothing more than Patrick's fingernails deftly plucking the brass strings of his beautifully crafted harp. The harp he plays is a re-creation of the ancient Celtic instrument, lovingly crafted by master harp builder Jay Witcher of Houlton, Maine, who has made it his life's work to allow the sound of the great instrument to live again.Patrick Ball pays his greatest tribute to the legendary Turlough O'Carolan, a blind, itinerant harper who wandered the Irish countryside at the turn of the eighteenth century, playing for wealthy landowners. O'Carolan was witty, a prolific composer and a genius on the Celtic harp. It is little wonder that Patrick Ball has included O'Carolan's brilliant tunes in each of his first four volumes.
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Fresh takes on traditional melodies
P. Lozar | Santa Fe, NM USA | 05/22/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For his second album, Ball chose a selection of familiar and less familiar tunes from the British Isles, ranging from contemporary compositions in the folk manner to traditional Irish and Welsh melodies and British folk ballads. Although some of the material suffers from over-familiarity, the performances are always impassioned, and the wire-strung harp gives the tunes a new lease on life: you'll feel you never REALLY heard "Greensleeves" before! I tend to prefer the O'Carolan tunes, for which Ball seems to have a natural affinity. (I was once listening to this tape on a Walkman while doing my laundry, and found myself dancing around the laundromat to "John O'Connor," to the astonishment of the other patrons.) But, all in all, the album is a pleasure."
Beautiful, meditative music
Bozhoo | 06/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album (and many other Patrick Ball harp pieces) is a wonderful mood-setter for an artist or writer. Some songs are mellow while others are more lively without being agitating or frenetic. This is some of the best music to meditate by and it will set you in a good, calm attitude. The quality of sound is excellent and professional. Best of all - no synthesizers that plague "new age" music. Just beautiful, clear harp from talented hands."