On wednesday night I had the privilege of attending a concert given by one of my favourite harpists, Catriona McKay (Scottish), she performed alongside Chris Stout and Seamus Begley in the Sugar Club in Dublin.
She played numbers from her stunning album ‘Starfish’ and ‘White Nights’ for the first half of the show, and Chris Stouts’ sturdy fiddle accompaniment added texture and diversity, visually and musically.
Both Chris and Seamus sang, Chris’s song being one I had never heard before, originating from his native island off the coast of Scotland.
Catriona was playing a Starfish harp… and the sound would be enough to convert anyone from the strong held first position of Larry Egar’s in the country. Infact I have noticed a trend of great harpists beginning to play Starfish’s – which I believe are Scottish. I wonder which harp Catriona played for years and if the name of the album (‘Starfish’) was inspired by a change in harp.
She plays leaning over to the right and wraps herself around her harp a little bit – which I suppose we all do a little bit when you get into a piece. Her playing was flawless, sublime, intricate, intimate, modest and dramatic yet mellifluous.
Chris did more talking than Catriona but it was interesting to hear the history behind each piece and the inspiration behind each composition. For example White Nights was inspired by the long nights of lightness in Chris’s home island (I wish I could remember which one it is now!)
My favourite set was a Michael Rooney number she played with Stout and Begley and it had an impressive number of key changes.
I’m delighted I got to see her play as she’s one of my favourite harpists of all time! My favourite compositions are The Swan and White Nights.