Legends of the Celtic Harp report
A capacity crowd at the Matheson Theater experienced performance art of the highest caliber Saturday night. The concert was sold out and extra seats were added, but we still had to turn some people away. Those who bought tickets in advance were very happy to have done so!
The performance was nothing short of spectacular. A blend of music and oratory, falling somewhere between concert and theater, it spanned nearly the range of human feeling; from humor to tragedy, tenderness to rage, reality to mysticism, and more besides. The effects were powerful and exhilarating.
The performers were: Patrick Ball, oratory and wire-strung Celtic harp; Lisa Lynne, Celtic harp, Irish bouzouki, and mandolin; Aryeh Frankfurter, harp, cittern, and nyckelharpa. Essentially, Aryeh and Lisa played instrumental music and Patrick told stories, punctuated by intervals of ensemble playing. (Essentially, Michaelangelo's David is a large male figure carved in marble.) It isn't really accurate to say that Patrick "tells stories" - what he does is more like bringing stories to life, or bringing you into the world of the story. It is a kind of magic. There were several moments where I was no longer simply watching a performance, but found myself actually experiencing the events Patrick was describing.
When I was not caught up in the spell, I was impressed by the craft. It sounds simple; you two play music, and I'll tell a story. But the story and music each have their own rhythms, and to achieve the transportive effect - getting the audience to forget they were watching, and instead become part of the experience - means geting the timing, pitch, and intonations exactly right. It's like harmony: the closer you get to the perfect notes, the more sublime the sound becomes. It is clear these three work hard at getting this right, even as it is also clear that they themselves become caught up in the spell they are weaving.
I walked a little taller today, feeling a certain pride in having brought this event to my friends and neighbors here on the coast. It is a marvelous thing to have a radio station like KZYX, providing a platform to develop the audience for shows like this one - without all that, events like this would never come about.