Sylvia Woods Harp Center 
August 2019 Newsletter
In this issue:
A personal note from Sylvia
Our featured author: Caitri­ona Rowsome
Sylvia's first Irish harp
This month's sale
Hawaii Statehood Day
How to use our promo codes
PersonalA personal note from Sylvia

I first mentioned Caitríona Rowsome's Complete Carolan Songs and Airs book and CD set in the January 2018 newsletter.  All of my copies sold out in about two hours.  I discussed it in three more issues in 2018 because this important book kept going in and out of stock here in the U.S.  So far, I've sold over 225 copies of this definitive Turlough O'Carolan book!    
I'm thrilled to announce that Caitríona Rowsome, the author of this fantastic book, has agreed to be our Featured Author this month. Luckily, we currently have a lot of copies in stock, so this book and CD set is part of this month's "15%-off sale."  If you haven't already bought this set, NOW is the time!
If you want to contact me, please don't reply directly to this newsletter.
Start a new email to  Thanks!  
ArrangerOur featured author: Caitr íona Rowsome
Caitriona Rowsome 
Caitríona Rowsome, from Dublin, Ireland, is our featured author this month.  Here's what she has to say about herself and her music.  

When I was very young, my parents asked if I'd like to learn the harp. For this, and so much more, I owe them a debt of gratitude as it nourished a fledgling desire to play and learn about Ireland's national emblem.  
My first harp was a basic starter harp of 26 strings built from a home kit. It started me on my musical journey, and so I set out to learn scales, arpeggios, hand positions, and key changes. My father, Leon Rowsome, a fourth-generation uilleann piper and pipe-maker, must have seen my love for the instrument. Not long after, he agreed with Mr. Walton of Waltons Music to make a full set of uilleann pipes in exchange for my first 34-string Irish harp.
I look back in awe at the incredibly supportive and creative commitment on my parents' part. I watched in wonder at the chanter turning on the lathe; reamers boring into regulators to the rhythm of the lathe; reeds being gouged; hemp being waxed, and templates used to mark the material for bag and bellows -- all for the love of family and music.
Caitriona Rowsome
And so it was on Saturday 12th October 1985, the day had come that I was the proud owner of my first professional harp.   
My harp teacher Nancy Calthorpe was wonderful. She taught in the DIT College of Music, Chatham Row, Dublin and instilled in her many harp pupils a love of the instrument and its music. With her, I learned the three ancient classifications of harpers' music: Goltraí (music of sorrow / lament), Geantraí (music of joy) and Suantraí (sleep music / lullaby). She taught me an arrangement of King of the Fairies from Sylvia Woods' Irish Dance Tunes for All Harps which was a favourite in our house.
I first heard the music of Turlough O'Carolan played by my father on the uilleann pipes. He played music that was passed on to him by his ancestors. Many of the airs were from O'Neill's Music of Ireland, such as Carolan's Concerto, Carolan's Receipt for Drinking, and Blind Mary
Caitriona Rowsome
I achieved a teaching Diploma in the Irish harp in 1990 and taught the harp for a time in the DIT College of Music, Chatham Row. In 1992 I graduated with a BSc in Computer Applications, and my career led me in that direction for many years. However, it was not until 2008 that I took advantage of a break between IT jobs to revert back to music. This marked the beginning of The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs -- a book and four-CD set published by Waltons -- a four-year journey of music and discovery, of challenges and great pleasure.
I am incredibly grateful to Waltons for such a wonderful opportunity. And I am thankful for all the positive responses and encouraging messages I received from around the world since the launch of The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs in October 2012.   
Buíochas ó chroí libh go léir   (A heartfelt thank you to all).
Caitriona Rowsome
In 2010, I joined the committee of Cairde na Cruite (Friends of the Harp), and since then I have taken an active voluntary role as editor of their annual harp newsletter An Cruitire (The Harper). I have written several articles that focus on the historical harps and music associated with Irish Castles. You can read these articles at 
   Caoine Phiaruis Feirtéara - (in An Cruitire 2014)
   Castle Fogarty and the O'Ffogerty Harp - (in An Cruitire 2015)

   Castle Otway and the Castle Otway Harp
- (in An Cruitire 2016)
I'll finish with a poem that I wrote in 2017 in celebration of the harp in Ireland, and commemorating Ireland's inaugural National Harp Day.
-- Caitríona Rowsome
by Caitríona Rowsome
Oh, strike up the sound of our nation's emblem
From flags and coins and coats of arms
To wire-strung clarity of copper and brass
Or levered tones that ne'er fail to surpass
That pride of place - our musical nation
Collectors, professors and cultured dignitaries
Indebted are we to their noble vision
As they guard and protect our living tradition
For harpers like to harp, to glissando and play
Heralding news of National Harp Day
From harmonic curve to sound-box and pillar
Its three-sided theorem a symbolic shape
Etched on monuments for us to explore
Of gloried tribute through legacy and lore
Its melody: collective; harmonious; ethereal
From flags and coins and coats of arms
Hear now the sound of ubiquitous charm.
1. Quinn harp, 2015 
2. With my first 34-string harp, 1988
3. At the launch of The Complete Carolan Songs & Airs, Clontarf Castle, Dublin 3, Oct 2012
4. At Na Píobairí Uilleann, Notes & Narratives, 15 March 2013 
  ArticlesSylvia's first Irish harp
Reading Caitríona's informative article got me thinking about my first Irish harp.  So, here's a bit of my harp history.  

I started learning to play the pedal harp in 1969 at the University of Redlands. Sally Elliott was one of the harp majors there.  Her parents went on a trip to Japan and brought back an Aoyama Irish Harp. Even though it was made in Japan, it was the first "Irish-type harp" that my teacher, Marjorie Call, had ever seen.

During my senior year, my sister Sheryl moved to Paris, France. One evening she went to a small coffee house and saw an up-and-coming Celtic harp player from Brittany named Alan Stivell*.
Reflets signed
He autographed the back cover of his new "Reflets" LP in Breton (the language of Brittany), and Sheryl mailed it to me. This signed LP is one of my prized possessions!  That was my first introduction to Celtic harp music.

Right after graduation, Marjorie Call suggested that I buy the used Lyon & Healy Style 17 harp that one of her students was selling. My grandmother loaned me $3,000, and I became the proud owner of a pedal harp!

About a year later I went to visit Sheryl in France.  I really wanted to hear Alan Stivell play. The newspaper had no concerts listed, so Sheryl found Alan's mother's number in the phone book and called her! His mom said he was playing that weekend at a high school gymnasium about an hour away from Paris. We took a train to the concert and went up to talk to him afterward. Sheryl told him, "My sister is a harp player from California, and she wants to buy a Celtic harp."  Alan replied, "My father makes the best harps in the world, but he only makes them for me. So you may as well go to Ireland and buy one from Waltons."

Since I was still paying off the loan from my grandmother, I didn't have the money to buy another harp. Luckily, my older brother agreed to loan me the money and wired funds to Sheryl in Paris. The  next week I went to Ireland and bought my very first Irish harp from Waltons music store in Dublin.
I had purchased an open-ended plane ticket, so when I was ready to go back home to California, I sent my parents a telegram informing them of the date and time of my arrival. I knew they would not be happy that I had bought another harp, so I didn't mention it. But I did tell them to bring their larger car (a Dodge Dart) instead of the VW Beetle. That way, I knew the harp would fit in the back seat.  I still have a copy of that telegram!   
1972 Telegram
When my mother met me at the airport gate, she kept looking over my shoulder and asked me the strangest question: "Where is the person who was sitting next to you on the plane?" What?!?!?!  I said that it was an old lady and that I had no idea where she was.
Waltons harp
It turned out that my parents thought I was bringing a "young man" home with me from Europe, and that was why I told them to bring the larger car. My sister had already "deserted them" and moved to France, and they were afraid I was following in her footsteps! They were so relieved that it was a harp, and not a husband, that they were thrilled that I bought a new harp!
Here's a 1972 photo of me with my new Waltons harp, with my pedal harp in the background. 
*In case you don't know of Alan Stivell, he was (and still is) one of the first Celtic harp super-stars. His 1972 "Renaissance of the Celtic Harp" recording was a significant influence on harpers in the 1970 and 80s.  
MonthSaleThis month's sale
This month's sale features Caitríona Rowsome's The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs book and CD set and Irish music arranged by Sylvia Woods. The code word is Ireland.    
To get the 15% discount on the products below, enter the code word Ireland in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by August 31, 2019. For more information, see the "15%-Off" section at the bottom of this newsletter.
Rowsome Carolan
by Caitríona Rowsome
15% off with Ireland code
by Sylvia Woods
Book, PDF, CD, mp3
15% off with Ireland code
 50 Irish Melodies
by Sylvia Woods
Book, PDF, CD, mp3
15% off with Ireland code
by Sylvia Woods
Book, PDF, CD, mp3
15% off with Ireland code
That Night in Bethlehem
by Sylvia Woods
Sheet or PDF
15% off with Ireland code
Songs of the Harp
 Songs of the Harp
by Sylvia Woods
PDF only
15% off with Ireland code
HawaiiHawaii Statehood Day
Th is article is part of my ongoing series about Hawaii. 
Hawaiian Flag
Sixty years ago, on August 21, 1959, Hawaii was admitted as the 50th U.S. state. Here in Hawaii, Statehood Day (or Admission Day) is celebrated annually on the third Friday in August.  So today, August 16, is a state holiday. The school year started on August 5, but today there is NO SCHOOL! 
If our state flag looks a bit familiar, that's most likely because it has the Union Flag of the United Kingdom in the upper left corner. King Kamehameha I commissioned the Hawaiian flag in 1816. The Union Jack was included to honor Hawaii's friendship with the British. The eight white, red, and blue stripes symbolize the eight major islands: Hawai'i, Maui, O'ahu, Kaua'i, Moloka'i, Lana'i, Ni'ihau, and Kahol'olawe.    
Happy Hawaiian Statehood Day! 
promocodes15% off select sale items when you use the code word:
Our newsletter promo codes are only redeemable online and can only be used for the items featured in the sale section of this newsletter. They are not valid for phone or email orders. This month's code word is Ireland, and it is valid for 15% off the select books, PDFs, CDs and mp3s in the sale section above. Just because an item is mentioned somewhere in this newsletter doesn't mean that it is on sale. It must be listed in the sale section.

Here's how to get your newsletter discount at :
#1. Put the items you want to purchase in your cart. 
#2. On the page where you view the items in your cart, type this month's code word Ireland in the "Promo Code" box, and click on "Enter Code."
The actual price of the featured sale products on this page will then automatically change to reflect the discount. You'll also see a note below the Promo Code box saying the name of the promo code you entered, and the percentage amount of the discount.  
REMEMBER:  you must enter this month's code word Ireland in the Promo Code box
and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by August 31
to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order,
email Sylvia immediately.   

Offer expires at the end of the day on 8/31/2019.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
  (808) 212-9525

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