Mark Norris harp (2004) in Ash wood, with gold-plated Truitt levers.

2004 Norris harp in Ash wood, with gold-plated Truitt levers. 34-strings, from 1st Octave A to 6th Octave C. Currently strung with Medium Gauge gut strings. New set of bass wires in Nov 2018. Price is £2,900.  Soft carry case and tuning key are included. Also included in the sale are approx £100-worth of spare gut strings. The clarsach has been played every day at home and regularly at ceilidhs, concerts, sessions, workshops, competitions and more. Beautiful sound and lovely to play. Excellent condition apart from a small chip on one foot, and minor scuffs/scratches on front pillar – please see the close-up photos of these. Currently located on the Isle of Skye. Enquiries to francesmaclean@hotmail.com or phone 01470 582226 or 07565 595...

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THE VIRTUAL ROYAL NATIONAL MÒD OCTOBER 2020

An Comunn Gàidhealach are delighted to announce that they will be holding an online version of Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail later this year. In keeping with the tradition, the event will take place during October and allow our Gaelic community to celebrate and showcase our language and music. Like many other events and festivals, this year’s Royal National Mòd, due to take place in Inverness in October, fell victim to the on-going Coronavirus pandemic. Junior and senior participants will be able to record performances in their respective categories and upload and submit their performances online with performances being showcased via The Royal National Mòd’s social media channels in October. The full list of disciplines including singing, bàrdachd, instrumental and highland dancing categories can be found here as well as further information on the Virtual Mòd. Performances must be submitted by 31st July. In addition to the performances of participants taking part in the Mòd, a programme of exciting online events is planned to run alongside the online celebration. Further details on a programme of events will be released in due course. Please click on the following link to view the Virtual Royal National Mod 2020 syllabus: Virtual Mod 2020 Syllabus Please click on the following link for further guidance on the Virtual Royal National Mod 2020: Virtual Mod 2020 Guidelines For further information, please contact info@ancomunn.co.uk or Tel. 01463 709...

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Susanne Lloyd-Jones

It was with great sadness that we learned of Susanne’s passing recently. Susanne was a wonderful musician and became interested in the clarsach, subsequently joining The Clarsach Society (Highland Branch) and then being elected onto the Executive Council and Music Committee. On behalf of everyone at The Clarsach Society, we send condolences to George, Susanne’s family and friends. Here is a photo of Susanne, at the National Mòd in Dunoon 2018, having won the Hilda Mary Campbell trophy – senior self accompaniment...

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Jennifer Port’s Summer Message

A warm hello and a big wave to all members,  Lockdown continues for those of us in Scotland, but I know our English members have seen some easing of restrictions. Despite the horrible impact of the virus and changes we have all had to adapt to, there have been plenty of highlights for us harpers. I’m sure many of you will have enjoyed the time and opportunity at home to play your clarsach more, and you may well have ventured into the world of online lessons; teaching or being taught from the other side of the country, and in some cases, the world.  Our office staff, Glenn and Toby, continue to work from home, doing an excellent job ensuring all Clarsach Society and EIHF matters are handled quickly and efficiently.  I doubt face-to-face branch activities will return any time soon, but it’s heartening to see online branch events occurring throughout the UK. If you need help promoting or advertising your branch, please contact the National Office.  As well as the AGM being cancelled, the Executive Council and Music Committee meetings due to have taken place last weekend were also cancelled. Hopefully by November, the infection rate will be less and we can return to our usual meetings schedule and activities. However, as the situation is ever changing and the serious risk to health and life is real, we will not risk anyone’s health for Society matters. If need be, we will postpone again or conduct the meetings online for as long as it takes.  Lockdown has been difficult for us all in lots of different ways, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are needing a friendly ear – convenor@clarsachsociety.co.uk I hope you all can take comfort from family and friends, near and far, during these difficult times. We are in complete lockdown in the far north Highlands, and I count myself lucky to be surrounded by my little gang; here is our family ‘lockdown doorstep photo’. Our new arrival is expected in only 11 weeks! (L-R: Graeme, myself (+bump!), Campbell, Freya, Imogen and Alyth) Stay safe and take care,...

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Highland Branch News

SUMMER 2020 The Highland Branch’s annual workshops were held as usual in January and February and proved to be very popular, to the extent that we had to bring in some extra tutors and planned an extra workshop in March! Unfortunately, the last two workshops, as well as the final concert, had to be cancelled but we hope to hold something similar when possible. We also recently announced the winners of our Young Composer’s Competition. With so many talented young players in the Highlands adjudicator Corrina Hewat had a tough time judging! Some of the entrants have recorded their compositions, which can be viewed on our Branch Facebook...

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Glasgow Branch News

SUMMER 2020 With such a sudden change to the world, many of us here in the Glasgow branch have been enjoying all the online harp videos going around.  The Virtual EIHF was a real highlight, of course! Our committee member, Rachel Hair, has been using the new technical skills she developed through putting the festival online and has created a great online course of her own – www.rachelhair.com/harpathome   For some members, lockdown life sounds a bit more like Ali Mac’s experience which inspired this hilarious new song! As a way to keep harping, we’ve put together a padlet of resources for our members, linking to online courses, lessons, music videos and concerts.  The padlet is a fun and user-friendly way to compile all these things hopefully keep us all going while we can’t meet in person. Musical greetings to all the other branches from Glasgow.  Looking forward to whenever we can all play some tunes together...

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Northumbrian Branch News

SUMMER 2020 Hello from the Northumbrian branch. It seems such a long time since we were able to meet and play our harps together. Rest assured we are still playing – our tablets, laptops and phones have proved to be very useful in bringing us new music to learn and enjoy. The virtual harp festival helped to bring us together – the workshops and concerts were very much appreciated and greatly enjoyed by our members. The Northumbrian branch would like to thank all of those involved in putting the Festival together. It was a tremendous achievement and a great success. Thanks also to Rachel Hair for all her hard work in providing online tuition which some of our members are enjoying. Thanks too to Isobel for sending out her music. For some of us as instrumental teachers, we are making use of Skype, Zoom etc to give online lessons. It is challenging and sometimes frustrating, but it is keeping music making alive and well. We hope it’s not too long before we are able to meet up and play our harps together...

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Jenny Mackenzie

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jenny Mackenzie, a former member of our Executive Council. Jenny was originally a member of The Edinburgh Branch of The Clarsach Society before moving to Fort Augustus, where she founded The Highland Branch. She had been resident in a care home in Daviot, south of Inverness. Jenny is survived by her two sons Jamie and Torquil and her grandson Ossian, who now runs Old Pier House, a family-run B&B she owned in Fort Augustus. Jenny will be remembered with great fondness and respect by everyone who had the pleasure to know her. She was in her...

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34-string harp, Paddy Cafferky

A 34-string harp made by Paddy Cafferky of Galway.  The maker has retired from producing new harps but still offers servicing. There is also a case, some sheet music, small music stand and spare strings included. The harp was made in 1994 and has had one owner. £3000 Ono. Email: alasdaircruickshank@hotmail.com,...

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Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award

The Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award is an annual competition named in memory of John Macleod. Composers aged between 16 & 25 years of age are invited to submit an original piece of music –  lasting no longer than 10 and no less than 8 minutes – suitable for: a) Solo Clarsach / Lever harp or b) Clarsach / Lever harp and up to 3 other instruments and/or voices. The award is £500 plus a premiere performance at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival. We are now open for submissions of music for 2020. Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully before applying. All submissions should be sent to office@clarsachsociety.co.uk by 5pm on 30th October 2020.  ...

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Isle of Lewis Branch News

Clarsach life is quiet just now in the Outer Hebrides as our individual clarsach lessons are cancelled.  However we are going to try a ‘Virtual Clarsach Ensemble’ on Saturday 11 April.  Màiri Macleod, our tutor, reckons it could be difficult but not impossible so we are going to give it a go!  We’ll let you know how we get on.

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Bristol & West of England Branch

SUMMER 2020 The Bristol & West of England Branch has continued its monthly meetings in 2020.  In January we met to learn some Burns tunes in preparation for Burns night.  In February we went over some of the repertoire we learned during 2019 and in March we learned Irish tunes in honour of St Patrick’s Day. Sadly we have had to cancel our meetings for the foreseeable future, including our forthcoming workshop with Lauren Scott in May, but we hope instead to welcome Lauren at a later date.  We are currently looking into the possibility of holding virtual online meetings for our branch instead of our physical gatherings and some of us plan to “attend” the online Edinburgh Harp...

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Transpennine Branch News

We had our very last play together a couple of weeks ago, and with just 5 of us rattled off a couple of new tunes.   We are looking at using the technology to have small groups to play together; our tutor, lovely Lucy Nolan, is going to record harp parts from our current play list so that we can keep practising… We are so disappointed that the EIHF is not happening but excited and delighted that the Festival team have pulled together the virtual festival.  The harp community is certainly coming together, sharing music and offering tutorials – being there for each other in what is a worrying time economically as much as anything for all our artists and performers.  Sending love and prayers from the Transpennine Group. Harps at a pantomime! At the beginning of February, four of our members played their harps for the amateur production of Sleeping Beauty in Burley-in-Wharfedale, West Yorkshire. The harps provided a beautiful and enchanting atmosphere as the audience entered and during the interval, they gave magical sound effects for the fairies, and a very interesting sequence of harp music during a theatrical dream sequence. From one of the reviews: “You’ve not lived until you’ve heard the Star Wars theme played on harps.”  An interesting experience, as the harps need to coordinate with the stage manager, cast and lighting, and we received many appreciative comments from audience...

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Wire Branch News

SUMMER 2020 The Wire Branch continues to offer its monthly workshops, but with all the participants now joining online via Zoom. Actually, we had been using Zoom for over a year now for members outside Edinburgh, and it’s funny how it has become such a prominent platform for video conferencing across the world during our time of lockdown. Unfortunately, Zoom let us down rather badly during our most recent workshop, on Sunday 17th May. None of the buttons seemed to work for anyone in the group, and we had to abandon things after trying for about an hour to properly start the meeting. An online search revealed that Zoom had gone down in the early hours of Sunday morning. I hope their engineers are able to repair the fault soon, to allow us to continue making our conference calls. We are approaching the tail-end of our online course on playing medieval Welsh harp music from the manuscript of Robert ap Huw. We have been learning two pieces from the original harp tablature during six 90-minute sessions. The group has done very well, and after completing the first tune, Kaniad Llywelyn ab Ieuan ap y Gof, we are right on schedule to finish the second one as well, Kaniad y Wefl. All that remains is to find a venue to give the student concert! Unfortunately, due to the lockdown restrictions, it appears that we will not be able to hold our summer workshop on the Isle of Bute. We had hoped to meet there for a three-day workshop in early August, playing a variety of medieval tunes. At the moment we are planning to offer that as an online workshop. We have several projects planned for the future, including holding a competition for a new wire-strung composition. Please write to wirebranch@gmail.com for more information regarding any activities of the Wire Branch. SPRING 2020 Far from cancelling all its activities, the Wire Branch continues to offer a full programme during the spring and summer. Several years ago we began to invite branch members to join our monthly Edinburgh workshops online. This allowed members outside Edinburgh to participate in Bill Taylor’s instruction, and we attracted regular interest from those in Japan, England and the USA. Over the months, it was interesting to see that the online students began to outnumber the players actually in our Edinburgh sitting room. We started by using Skype, but it was difficult to hold meetings with groups, and the transmission was not always reliable. With advice from one of our branch members, we began to use Zoom, a platform for video conferencing which is now frequently in the news as a means of social and professional contact. There is an annual charge, which gives us the ability to hold sessions of any length, to accept up to 99(!) participants per session, and to both record the sessions and to store them in the cloud. Participants all appear in boxes on the screen, and everyone agrees to be ‘muted’. If anyone has a question, they simply raise their hand; they ask the question, which everyone hears; then Bill answers the question and the session moves forward. The Wire Branch had planned five workshops playing historical and traditional music with Bill, originally to be held in Edinburgh between January and June. These were planned for Sunday afternoons from 2-5pm, to have taken place at our new venue on Haddington Place. However, with the coronavirus making it impossible to either travel or congregate, the workshops will be offered entirely online. The workshops welcome all players of wire-strung and gut-strung harps...

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The Lone Harper

The lone harper I guess that describes us all right now!  When I started playing the clarsach back in the 1950s it was still  an unusual instrument. There were only 2 other players and my teacher that I knew of in Edinburgh. Playing the clarsach was a lonely life! How different it is now with harp groups, ensembles and orchestras meeting regularly to enjoy the great pleasure of making music together. This joy is temporarily denied to us. I hear great resolutions to make use of this time to practise all the pieces we always meant to tackle, to improve technique or take online lessons. I have made two resolutions. The first is to compose music for the times with a bit of humour and maybe also to console- or even inspire. Attached is the first piece Social Distance Dance – others to follow and all will be free to everyone to share. The second is to set aside my own Harp Half Hour each day just to play through music I  love-starting with my ubiquitous beginners’ piece, Singing Strings (with variations!) and ending with Auld Lang Syne (the lovely original tune). In between I will play my favourite pieces by many arrangers/composers, especially the wonderful Anne Macdearmid and I will sing a song or two. That way I may be alone, on my own, but definitely not lonely. Isobel...

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