Review: Irish Harper Grainne Hambly and Scottish Harper William Jackson at The Bangor Arts Exchange

Posted April 17th, 2018

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

The evening was a well anticipated one. The chatter about the Harpers grew as some of the crowd wondered if they would play together or separately. Would it have been a case of dueling harps so to speak or could the cultures be intertwined and joined at the strings? There were numbers spent well in a solo effort on both shores as well as a well balanced marriage of the two ends of the isle joining in a most harmonious and melodic grace. The stories never cease to amaze. First of all, who would ever think that an instrumental could be a simple spark of an untold or a variably very told story which seems to be the case for every song. In a life lesson on the same subject it seems that some of the tunes are also tweaked by the artist who plays them at the time, adding and even subtracting bits and pieces of the the tune at their artistic discretion. The titles needed to be adjusted as well depending on the message the composer wished to express at the time.

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

The musical endeavors were superior and masterfully performed. Clarity of the instrument had most certainly drawn the audiences attention due to the delicate nature of the instrument. Included within the musical parameters were the beloved miniature accordion, the whistle, and the ever present bouzouki. They blended well as friendly accompaniment to the featured harp. The traditional aspect was never ignored, ever loved, and most of all respected by both musician and appreciator for hundreds of years past and to come.