From The Irish Time - 19 aprile 2014
Harpists have had mixed fortunes since their early medieval heyday. Now Cormac de Barra is helping to restore the instrument’s status. As part of his efforts, he tries teaching it to an ‘Irish Times’ journalist
Once upon a time, says Cormac de Barra, the harpist was given pride of place in Irish society. De Barra is collaborating with Moya Brennan on Ten14 , a musical Brian Boru-themed show for all the family, which debuts today in the Ark in Dublin’s Temple Bar, and he’s offered to teach me how to play a tune on the harp.
“In those days the taoiseach got the best cut of meat,” he says. “The poet got the second best cut and the harpist got the third. And so it went, all the way down to the professional farters who got the giblets and guts.”
“Professional farting?” I say. “Was that a thing?”
“Yes,” says de Barra.
“Can you teach me that too?”