Latest Laois Event: Music Generation Laois Harpers helping to summon a Harp Revival

Latest Laois Event: Music Generation Laois Harpers helping to summon a Harp Revival

Young musicians and harpers from Music Generation Laois descend on St. Patrick’s Festival Quarter

Young musicians and harpers from Music Generation Laois descend on St. Patrick’s Festival Quarter to share their dynamic take on Irish Traditional Music.

Over one hundred young musicians from Music Generation will come together at St. Patrick’s Festival Quarter in Collins Barracks from 1pm on Saturday 19th March. Music Generation’s young community of harpers, rappers, classical, folk, and traditional musicians unite to mark the premier of new Irish works and celebrate Ireland’s national emblem – The Harp.

Music Generation Laois is part of Music Generation, Ireland’s national music education programme which gives children and young people access to high-quality performance music education. With a mission to remove barriers of access to music and create inspiring musical experiences for children and young people, Music Generation Laois are thrilled to collaborate with Ireland’s National Festival to create such a memorable live performance opportunity for its young participants. 

Harpists ready for the show at the Music Generation Laois Tion—l ’21 Harp & Pipes live streamed event from The Malthouse, Stradbally. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Summoning a Harp Revival features The Harp Collective, a cross-county initiative made up of 52 young musicians aged 10 -17, from Music Generation MayoMusic Generation Louth and Music Generation Laois.  The collective will premier new work from prolific composer Michael Rooney.  This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform for a national and international audience, has been long awaited by these young musicians. The young harpers had previously secured a performance opportunity to premier this new music at the World Harp Congress, Wales in July 2020.  With the performance postponed until July 2022, the young musicians are delighted to finally showcase their efforts and to return to rehearsing together ‘in-person’ after two years of maintaining momentum and keeping the music alive.

“It’s so nice to have an end goal for all our work being done. Actually finally being able to play these pieces. They are brand new and it’s so exciting to be part of that!”

                                                                                                Zoe, Young Musician, Music Generation Louth

Joined by the acclaimed harper himself, the programme will also include arrangements of previous works composed by on Michael Rooney, performed by the Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra while Music Generation Mayo’s Harp Ensemble will take audiences on a thrilling journey of unique traditional arrangements. Nós Nua, Louth’s Youth Folk Orchestra which includes young musicians from across Louth, Meath, Monaghan and Armagh will perform “Causeway”, a suite of new music from Mohsen Amini.Music Generation Cork City’s The Kabin will also travel to the capital to dedicate original music to the harp. The Kabin’s young rap artists in collaboration with harper Donnchadh MacAodha, will bring their urban, meaningful and ‘pure daycent’ energy to performances of new and traditional Irish music.

At work in the Siobhan Buckley harp class at the Music Generation Laois Trad Summer School. Picture: Alf Harvey.

In 2019, the Irish Harp was inscribed by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The last decade has seen a resurgence in harping among young people across Ireland, from Laois, to Louth, to Mayo, propelled by the work of Harp Ireland, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and Music Generation. This programme celebrates a great harp revival for our younger generation.

Initiated by Music Network in 2010 Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Local Music Education Partnerships in which Education and Training Boards and Local Authorities play a lead role. Now over a decade on, it is anticipated that in 2022 alone, Music Generation will reach 80,000 programme participants nationwide. Ahead of the new collaboration with St. Patrick’s Festival, Music Generation’s National Director Rosaleen Molloy, commented: