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  • Celtic Harp, Vol. I: The Music of Turlough O'Carolan
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Celtic Harp, Vol. I: The Music of Turlough O'Carolan


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Celtic Harp, Vol. I: The Music of Turlough O'Carolan + Celtic Harp, Vol. 2: From A Distant Time + Celtic Harp, Vol. 4: O'Carolan's Dream
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Celtic Harp, Vol. I: The Music of Turlough O'Carolan by Patrick Ball

About the Artist

Patrick Ball was born and raised in California and gave little thought to such things as where his ancestors came from. He went to school and supposed, when he thought about it at all, that he would one day be a lawyer, like his father. But he studied music from time to time and over the years developed a nodding acquaintance with the piano and the guitar. At university he continued his flirtatious relationship with music by playing the tin whistle, principally to annoy his roommate. But at this time he found that he was irresistibly drawn to words, to the music of words, to writers who made words sing, to writers from Ireland. Then, when he began to study history to fulfill his academic requirements, he was not surprised to find that it was the lyrical, turbulent history of Ireland that engaged him. So much so, in fact, that when his father died all his thoughts of law school died with him. He enrolled in graduate school and soon made his way to Ireland. There he fell in love with the eloquence and fire of the Irish oral tradition. There he fell in love with the Celtic harp. And there a few pieces of his life fell into place. For he came to know that marvelous unity of Irish words, music and history that would become his passion and, eventually, his livelihood.

Patrick returned to California, was awarded a Master's Degree in History by Dominican College, and soon discovered that jobs in the field of Irish scholarship were not to be had for love nor money. So after laboring in various unrewarding lines of work he set off hitchhiking around the country and finally fetched up at Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where he lived for two years and worked as a groundsman. There he encountered a branch of that living oral tradition that had captivated him in Ireland. And there for him, among the Appalachian storytellers, his love of the spoken word was rekindled. He returned to Ireland and listened, then made his way back to California, determined to put his scholarship, his love of words and his neglected musicianship to some use, to carve out for himself an occupation from the things that he loved. He sought out a maker of the rare wire-strung Celtic harp and taught himself to play. He then gathered the stories he had heard and the history he had learned and blended them with the music that had so often been their companion.

He now tours extensively throughout the United States and Canada, is considered one of the premier Celtic harpers and storytellers in the world today, and has recorded nine instrumental and three spoken word albums which have sold well over one-half million copies collectively and earned national awards in both the music and spoken word categories. Along with Celtic Harp and Story, his beguiling blend of music and spoken word concerts, Patrick has also written and currently performs two solo musical theater pieces: O'Carolan's Farewell to Music, which brings to the stage the legendary life, the turbulent times and the glorious music of Ireland's most celebrated and beloved musician, Turlough O'Carolan, and The Fine Beauty of the Island, a musical journey to Ireland's legendary Blasket Islands in search of a deeply haunting tune and the vanished islanders who played it.

Patrick has been awarded grants for his work by the Zellerbach Family Fund and the California Arts Council and is the recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Association.


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Carolan's Quarrel with the Landlady 2:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Maurice O'Connor 1:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Blind Mary 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Carolan's Receipt for Drinking 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Carolan's Ramble to Cashel 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Carolan's Welcome 3:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Young William Plunkett 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. George Brabazon 1:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Lady Athenry / Fanny Poer 4:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Give Me Your Hand 2:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Lady Maxwell0:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Dermott O'Dowd / The Queen's Dream 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Mrs. Judge 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Carolan's Farewell to Music 4:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Sheebeg Sheemore 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 13, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fortuna Records
  • Run Time: 43 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000007SD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,303 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By P. Lozar on May 22, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This was Ball's first recording, so his technique is sometimes a little rough around the edges. But what music! Even if you've heard these tunes on the Celtic harp before (e.g., as recorded by the masterful Derek Bell of the Chieftains), this album is a revelation: the wire-strung harp gives the tunes a clarity and luminescence that a gut-strung harp never can, no matter who plays it. The arrangements show off not only the nuances of the tunes themselves, but the amazing range of the harp (on a good stereo, the low notes will rattle your windows). And the tunes are well balanced between cheerful and melancholy -- "Carolan's Farewell to Music," reputedly the last tune the composer wrote, always reduces me to a puddle. (I was once chowing down in a sushi bar when this track came on the stereo, and I nearly choked on my negi-hamachi.)
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. H. Bergman on February 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
... If Turlough O'Carolan is reembodied these days I wouldn't be surprised if he was Patrick Ball. Patrick seems to have been born to play this music in this age.I played it at the office where I work and even the rock/jazz/blues-liking people liked it. It's a great bridge to lead people from the latter grade of sound (I'm definitely prejudiced in this regard) to the realms of really beautiful music. For budget-minded people: in my opinion, save your money re Vol. 2; I prefered Vol. 1 about infinitely (regarding the selections, not the artist's playing of them). I haven't heard Vol. 3 or Vol. 4.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pauline J. Alama on December 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If I tell you this is the most relaxing music I know, you may get the wrong impression. This is no newage mush, but intricate Baroque compositions played flawlessly on an instrument with such a blissfully sweet tone that it's no wonder angels are depicted with harps. All the same, when I was stressed out in graduate school I used to play this tape every night to drive away care, and more recently, I've found it just the thing for getting my baby to settle down to sleep. The tones of the harp cascade light bright drops of water over the surface of your mind and float you to a more peaceful place. This music is like magic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. R. Grove on January 23, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I have been going to see Patrick Ball's live performances every chance I get since 1995. In between I console myself with his wonderful CD's. Of all of them, though, I think I play this one the most, partly because of the "O'Carolan's Farewell to Music" track. Those of you who have been lucky enough to see Patrick's one-man show of that title will not need to ask why. I have other recordings of that track, but for me they are flickering candles compared to the sun of Patrick Ball's performance. O'Carolan himself could not do it better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on March 18, 2009
Format: Audio CD
... Yes, I know that line was written by a Scot, not an Irishman, but it suits the occasion. I went to a grand Saint Patrick's Day party last night, with the same old friends, and none of them musicians, whom I always break soda bread with this once a year if I'm in town, forty or fifty people with only a few really Irish but all as gentle company as any blind harper could have asked for. My son is now eighteen, and far more obviously a man than anyone remembered from last year, so he joined us in the ritual sampling of the Irish 'usquebaugh' and we got a trifle tipsy together and found ourselves re-enacting various scenes from the movie "Waking Ned Devine." But the 'comfort' was welcome, since after the party we were committed to spending the second half of the night patrolling our little neighborhood, which is being afflicted by a garbage-can arsonist.

And being a Paddy's Day party, the music was The Chieftains and other artists of the Celtic Revival, including harper Patrick Ball. Irish music has a way of taking you with it emotionally. I love the jigs and reels, with the elbow pipes and fiddles and bodhran jamming at breakneck speed. I played penny whistle with an Irish band - Banish Misfortune - a long time ago. But I also love the wistful planxties played on harp alone, and the best of them were mostly composed by Toirdhealbhach O Cearbhlallain (Turlough O'Carolan), the blind 17th C harper who spent his life as a wandering guest of the manors, one of the last of the ancient tradition of Celtic and Nordic minstrels.

The Chieftains include plenty of Carolan in their performances, with harper Derek Bell, but this solo performance by Patrick Ball brings Carolan's music to you in its purest form, with its twilight whimsy intact.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This was a disgustingly good CD. :) If you like gentle instrumental music, you may well like this. It's equally good to listen attentively to or to have in the background.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ceadach Rua on August 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I have to confess to having a soft spot in my heart for this first of Patrick Ball's album. This was the first recording I ever encountered of music played on the
ancient Gaelic harp and it set me on the path to taking up the instrument and becoming a professional harper myself.

While I can't promise you that this recording with affect the same sort of life changes in all listeners, some 30 years later it remains a sparkling gem,
and a great introduction the music of one Ireland's most revered harper-composers. Patrick himself was just starting out, yet despite having only played for a few years
there is artistry here of breathtaking depth and maturity. His arrangements were simple back then but what he said through this music remains profound.
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