Back in November 2020, we realised our first series of online concerts. We did this at lightening speed, in response to the lockdowns throughout much of the world at this time. Little did we anticipate the huge success these concerts would have, the wonderful variety of music, styles and genres we would experience – or that, come the Spring, 16 beautiful recitals would have been performed and broadcasted: season I and season II.
But! Good things come in threes, and next Thursday, the third season of Les Jeudis de la Harpe will begin. As ever, the concerts are free of charge on YouTube: just log on to @CamacHarpsOfficial at 19:30 CET every Thursday to enjoy the premier.
We have now reached the final concert of our third series – and we have been thrilled to discover Anna Boulic, who plays for us for the first time. Anna moved to France from her native Australia in 2015. Her incredible voice, smoky jazz and blues and wealth of original songs, will bring this series of Les Jeudis de la Harpe to a fantastic conclusion. If you haven’t yet had a chance to hear Anna – don’t miss it!
“Les Jeudis de la Harpe” return to classical music this week, with one of Belgium’s most distinguished harpists. We are delighted to welcome Annie Lavoisier, Professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and Principal Harpist of the Belgian National Orchestra, to give a recital for us. Her programme will include some of the harp literature’s best-loved works, and also some which deserve to be heard much more often: Golestan’s Ballade Roumaine is a case in point, as is Haffner’s dancing Sonatina – Ballet.
This Thursday, May 13 at 19:30 on YouTube, we are looking forward to welcome one of the best-known singer-songwriters of the French contemporary scene. Cristine Merienne started her career in the 90s with Sedrenn – a piquant duet that contributed to the Breton musical landscape in this very active and creative period. She then decided to combine her passion for music with her passion for writing and French songs. She has continued in this direction ever since, creating many projects alone and with colleagues, and frequently crossing disciplines into theatre and literature.
Cristine’s set on Thursday will indeed consist entirely of her own songs, selected from a creative period spanning over two decades. You can download her programme here.
Born in Brest, Kevin Le Pennec started singing at a very young age, and began playing the harp at the age of 7. Very interested in Celtic music, he developed his instrumental technique with Nathalie Hoffmann and Nolwenn Philippe, then with Nikolaz Cadoret at the Brest Conservatory. While studying in Brest, he also discovered popular song in French, as well as traditional music with professors Marc Clérivet, Laurent Bigot, Cédric Moign, and Philippe Boisard.
Kevin is currently finishing his musical studies at the Pôle d’Enseignement Supérieur du Spectacle Vivant (Bretagne – Pays de la Loire) in Rennes, and also teaches the harp across this region. He has worked with musicians such as Ronan Pellen, Régis Huiban, Ronan Le Gourierec, Guillaume Veillet, Tristan Le Govic, Morgane Le Cuff, Hoëla Barbedette, Véronique Bourjot, Mathieu Hamon, Marthe Vassalot… He performs a soloist, in duo with the guitarist Arthur Manuel, with the quintet Anao, and is a member of the South American/Celtic ensemble Micamac. In 2019, he and Morgane Grégory formed BISIAD, a lever harp duo, and they have just released their first album.
Kevin Le Pennec is the winner of 2019’s Camac Trophy at the Lorient Interceltic Festival, where he also won the audience prize. He combines his passion for traditional music and songs with modern, dynamic harp playing. His compositions and arrangements, of diverse influences, reflect his love of this repertoire. His clear and powerful singing – in French, English and sometimes in Gallo, a capella or accompanied – rounds off his artistic identity.
“Beauty of sound, perfection of style, depth of eloquence”: this is how the composer Philippe Hersant describes Isabelle Moretti. She is an artist who, since the beginning of her rich career, has been an ambassador for the colours of the French harp throughout the world. In her hands, the harp reveals the full extent of its immense, not always expected, expressive potential. Ever-curious, she embraces a vast repertoire, from the 18th century to the present day.
In present times, Isabelle Moretti is also keenly aware of ecological issues. She is inspired by Pierre Rabhi’s words in his Manifesto for the Earth and Humanism: “The earth, a silent being of which we are one of the living expressions, harbours enduring values made up of what is most lacking: the right cadence, the flavour of cycles, and patience”. Isabelle Moretti closely associates her musical mission with these deep wider convictions. “Parole de terre” (“Words of the Earth”), her poetic programme of words and music, which she has imagined around texts by the author of the Manifesto for the Earth and Humanism, is a vibrant illustration of this.
For Isabelle Moretti, sharing music with others is vital. She has formed especially close partnerships with Magali Mosnier, Juliette Hurel, the Ebène Quartet, Dame Felicity Lott, and the oboist and conductor François Leleux, with whom she had the pleasure of playing Mozart’s famous double concerto.
An impassioned teacher, she is a professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de la Musique et de la Danse in Paris and a guest professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She also loves to travel the world and to meet young people from all cultures through her numerous masterclasses.
Isabelle Moretti is an Officer of the National Order of Merit and an Officer of Arts and Letters.
“With her authenticity, her deep inspiration and her openness, Elisa Vellia is a great singer who brings all the fragments of life, lost in the mists of time, to our ears.”
Luigi Elongui, World Magazine
The Greek singer-songwriter Elisa Vellia was born in Corfu and grew up in Athens. She left her country for adventure and travel. She discovered the Celtic harp on the London Underground; then later settled in Brittany. Between her native land and her adopted land, between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, she sings in Greek about her roots and her emotions, giving new life to the harp and weaving her own musical universe.
In her performance, Elisa takes us on a journey through her own story. This is her journey from Corfu to Athens, from London to Brittany. In her melodies and songs, the Greek poets and the light of the islands merge with the wind of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Celtic universe. The desire for adventure, the richness of encounters, and the hope of returning resonate and take us to a luminous elsewhere, close to our own roots and in a common language.
We will begin with none other than Myrdhin, Breton Celtic legend. The concert also marks the beginning of his 50th year on stage, and we are very honoured that he is sharing this moment with us.
Born in Upper Brittany to a Cornish family, Myrdhin is one of the driving forces behind the revival of the Celtic harp in Brittany. Since the 1970s he has been applauded both in France and abroad: in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Turkey, Poland, Russia, Italy, Japan, Spain, Portugal, Norway, and Paraguay.
He has received numerous awards, such as the Triskell d’Or, Kan ar Bobl, 1st prizes for harp and singing in Killarney-Ireland, Nancy Richards’s Trophy in Wales, J.M.F. and France Musique awards, and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2002. In 2000, as part of AFROCELT, MYRDHIN was nominated for a Grammy Award in Los Angeles (world music category).
He draws his inspiration from the natural environment in Brittany, and has been playing on bronze- and metal- strung harps since 1975.