Kim Robertson returns to Gourd Music with 14 beautiful instrumental arrangements of ancient melodies, traditional tunes, hymns, and contemporary compositions on Celtic harp.
Kim has redefined the rich traditions of the harp with her innovative style and improvisational spirit. As a pioneer in the American folk harp movement, she combines cutting-edge artistry with a passionate sense of tradition, bringing a contemporary touch to a centuries-old instrument
Born in Wisconsin and classically trained on piano and
orchestral harp, Kim's discovery of the Celtic harp in the mid-70's grew into a profound love for the instrument, setting her upon the path of exploration for which she is now widely known. A renowned performer and instructor, her work encompasses over 20 album projects, 11 volumes of harp arrangements, three instructional videos and an international itinerary of concerts and retreats.
1. The Youngest Daughter
This spirited reel appears in O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1903) and also in Ceol Rince na hEireann No. 1 by Breandan Breathnach as Baintreach na Radaireacht where it is attributed to Sean Potts, a whistle player, formerly of The Chieftains.
2. All Things Bright and Beautiful
This tune was written by Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander (1823-1895) and first appeared in her Hymns for Little Children in 1848. Mrs. Alexander lived in Derry, Ireland and was the wife of the Archbishop of Armagh. The melody was borrowed from a 17th century English composition titled Royal Oak. It has been said that Genesis 1:31 was Mrs. Alexander's inspiration for this hymn. This beloved song is also included in The Episcopalian Hymnal.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
* Brek Renzelman: viola * Karl Lavine: cello D Arranged by Eric Segnitz
3. The Grenadier and the Lady
This ballad has been found in both England and Scotland and dates back to the 17th century or earlier. It goes by many names-The Nightingale, The Souldier's Rare Musick, and Maides Recreation, to name a few. In the ballad, the Grenadier is always very charming but never hers for the keeping.
"O come," said the soldier, "Tis time to give o'er."
"O no," said the fair maid, "We will have one tune more,
I do like your music and the tune of your string,
I do like to see the flowers grow and hear the nightingale sing."
4. Be Thou My Vision (Bí thusa Mo Shúile)
This melody is based on a very old Irish hymn titled Slane. It was on Slane Hill (County Meath) that St. Patrick is said to have defied the will of the pagan king Laoghaire by lighting the Pascal candle on Easter Eve.
The lyrics of this song came from an ancient Irish hymn that dates back to 8th
century monastic tradition. Mary E. Byrne translated the hymn into modern prose in 1905, and it was then put into verses by Eleanor Hull for her work Poem Book of the Gael (1912).
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light.
* Brett Lipshutz: wooden flute (flute in D, made by G. French, London 1850's)
5. I'm a Doun for Lack o' Johnnie
This Scottish poem, attributed to Robert Burns (1759-1796), was put to the music of a traditional melody probably in the late 18th century. It has become one of the four parts of The Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra by German composer Max Bruch (1838-1920), first performed in 1879.
I'm o doun, doun, doun
I'm a doun for lack o' Johnnie
Gin Johnnie kent I was ne weel
I'm sure he would come to me
But o gin he's forsaken me
Och hone what will come o' me
6. The Boys of Ballisodare
Joining the harp on this traditional Irish slip jig is George Winston performing on his seven string acoustic guitar (tuned C-D-G-D-G-B-D, from the lowest pitched string to the highest). George has also recorded a solo guitar version of this jig on his soundtrack recording Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes (Dancing Cat Records).
* George Winston: guitar. George Winston appears courtesy of Dancing Cat Productions.
7. Poor Wayfaring Stranger
One of the most popular hymn-ballads in North America, this solo harp arrangement captures the more plaintive side of this classic Appalachian song.
I am a poor wayfaring stranger,
While traveling through this world of woe.
Yet there's no sickness, toil, nor danger,
In that bright world to which I go.
8. Maya's Return
Written by Kim Robertson. © Kim Robertson Publishing (BMI)/Gourd Music (BMI).
A new arrangement of Kim Robertson's original composition Maya. This piece features live sound effects made with the tuning key of the harp. Played in an exotic mode, it evokes Maya, the Goddess of Illusion, and also a favorite cat named Maya, who returns at the end (listen for "meow" sounds).
9. Searching for Lambs
This English folk song was collected by Cecil Sharp in his One Hundred English Folk Songs (1916). Though the lyrical content may vary from version to version, the theme is always the same-the shepherdess is searching for her lambs on a May morning and the young man is searching for her love.
O stay! O stay! you handsome maid,
And rest a moment here,
For there is none but you alone
That I do love so dear.
10. Since You've Asked
Written by Judy Collins. © Universal Music Corp (ASCAP)/The Wildflowers Company (ASCAP).
A classic love song from Judy Collins' album Wildflowers (Elektra Records 1967). This lyrical performance features the cello and English horn of fellow Gourd artists Barry and Shelley Phillips.
* Shelley Phillips: English horn * Barry Phillips: cello
11. My Love is Like A Red, Red, Rose
This poem was written by Robert Burns (1759-1796), and was originally set to a tune called Major Graham by Neil Gow, from Oswald's Companion Book, 1745. In 1799, the poem appeared in Original Scottish Airs, set to the tune of Wishaw's Favourite. In 1821, Robert Archibald Smith placed the poem with the tune Low Down in the Broom in his Scottish Minstrel.
Oh, my love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June
Oh, my love is like a melody
That's sweetly played in tune
12. The Victor's Return
This Irish jig is one of many tunes praising Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte was seen as a hero by the Irish in their continuing conflict with the English.
13. Beauty In Tears
This melody has been attributed to the blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). Also known as For Ireland I'll Not Tell Her Name, its melody seems to be a musical cousin to the Welsh tune The Ash Grove.
14. Cape Clear
This beautiful and mystical air is named for the small island of Cape Clear, which rests eight miles off the coast of West Cork, Ireland. Saint Ciarán is the patron saint of this romantic Irish island that is just three miles long by one mile wide. A 14th century castle, myriad stone walls, harbors, wild birds, megalithic standing stones, and hills covered with heather and wild flowers all grace this island.