I've been playing harp for 13 years, and have taken lessons for about 6 years, first from Laurie Rasmussen and most recently from Val Blessley. I've also had lessons from Kim Robertson, Laurie Riley, Therese Honey, Máire ní Chathasaigh, Grainne Hambley, Pamela Bruner, Ann Heymann, Patrick Ball, Harper Tasche, Beth Kollé, Bill McJohn, William Jackson, Aryeh Frankfurter, Verlene Schermer, Mary Radspinner, Seumas Gagné, Cynthia Cathcart, Sylvia Woods, Sunita Staneslow, Park Stickney, Sue Richards, Ray Pool, Laura Zaerr, Nicholas Carter, and Maeve Gilchrist.

I also play bodhran (the Irish drum) on some of the faster tunes, and play with friends as well. I've started recording my music (links from my repertory) in preparation for a CD. I have recorded two harp tunes on the CD "Muse of the Lion", and background harp and bodhran on Dame Guiliana's CD of stories, "An Ancient Story I'll Tell You Anon...". Also two pieces with Sir Brand and Mistress Cymbric's group "Tril Sean" CD. I'm about to go back into the studio to record a CD with my apprentice, Eala (Liz Chenette).

Most of the time, you'll find me playing harp at events of the "Society for Creative Anachronism", also known as the SCA. Here I am known by the name of Conchobar Clarsair, and am one of the two harp Laurels in the kingdom (equivalent to a knighthood for the arts). I often play for medieval feasts, in court and around the campfire.

Outside the SCA, I'm the harper for Widdershins, a Celtic traditional group. I also play weddings, parties and art openings. I live in Portland, Oregon.

Conchobar's repertory
Harp Straps
Blessley Instruments
Back to Conchobar's page

My wedding and indoor event harp has 36 strings and is made by Dusty Strings in Seattle. It's also what I use for recording.

My tourney harp is a Stoney End Anne (26-string) harp that I built from a kit, although I modified it somewhat to look more "period". This harp is in the "Irish low-head" style - higher tension, although it has nylon strings instead of wire.

I have built a 34-string low-head solid-body electric harp to play with my band. It has a pickup on every string. The band plays a mix of traditional, folk, rock and even period pieces. Yes, I can even play Hendrix, which of course is very scary coming out of a harp. The electric version of "Twa Corbies" is cooler than I can describe...

Countess Morag, the first Queen of An Tir gifted me with a 24-string wire-strung harp, made in 1983 by Philip Boulding of Magical Strings. It's the first time I've had a wire harp, and I'm finally putting my long fingernails to good use. I'll eventually replace the column and neck on this harp, as they're badly bowed from the tension of the strings. But it sounds really lovely...

The harp in the picture to the left is a Stoney End Brittany (low-head 22-string), which now belongs to my student, Arwen Valkyriedottir. This harp has a strap on it to allow playing while standing. I now have the high-head version of this harp, called the Eve. It's handy, because it is small enough to take as a carry-on and fit in the overhead compartment on a plane.

Events where you can hear Conchobar:
I don't list weddings and private parties in here...

Past Events:
2002:
Amergin's Revenge (Adiantum, Oct 26-27) (competed)
Dusty Strings Harp Symposium (Seattle, Nov 8-10)
Three Mountains Yule Feast (Dec 7)
Stromgard Yule Feast (Dec 14)
2003:
Twelth Night (Adiantum, Jan 10-12)
Music and Dance Ithra (3M, Feb 22) (teaching)
Portland Storytellers Guild (McMenamin's Kennedy School, March 15)
May Crown (Wealdsmere, May 15-18)
Egils (Adiantum, May 23-26)
War College (3M, June 13-15)
July Coronation (Blatha an Oir, July 18-20)
Sport of Kings (3M, August 1-4)
Titus & Kateline's First Court (3M, Sept 13)
Kingdom Bardic Championship (Wyewood, Sept 27-28) (competed)
Amergin's Revenge (Adiantum, Oct 17-19) (judged)
Samhain (3M, Nov 1)
Crown Council (Wealdsmere, Nov 7-9)
Three Mountains/Dragons Mist Yule Feast (Dec 6)
Stromgard Yule Feast (Dec 13)
2004:
Twelth Night (court musician) (Dragon's Laire, Jan 9-11)
Estrella War (Atenveldt - Phoenix, AZ) (Feb 11-16)
Portland Storytellers Guild (McMenamin's Kennedy School, March 20)
May Crown (Lions Gate, May 21-23)
Egils (Adiantum, May 28-31)
Kriegstrieber (3M, June 11-13)
July Coronation (3M, July 16-18)
Bows and Blades (3M, August 13-15)
September Crown (court musician) (Dragons Laire, Sept 3-6)
Kingdom Bardic Championship (judged) (Lions Gate, Sept 24-26)
Dusty Strings Harp Symposium (Seattle, Nov 5-8)
Samhain (3M, Oct 30)
2005:
Twelth Night (Shittemwoode, Jan 7-9)
Founders Revel (Stromgard, Feb. 5)
DM Defenders Tourney and Ithra (Dragons Mist, April 16) (teaching harp)
May Crown (Corvaria, May 20-22)
Egils (Adiantum, May 27-30)
An Tir / West War (Brieroak, July 1-4)
July Coronation (Vulkenfeldt, July 15-17)
Sport of Kings (3M, August 12-14)
September Crown (Aquaterra, Sept 2-4)
Kingdom Bardic Championship (judged) 3M, Sept 24-25)
Dusty Strings Harp Symposium (Seattle, Nov 4-6)
Stromgard Yule Feast (Dec 3)
2006:
Twelth Night (3M, Jan 13-15)
Kingdom A&S (judged, court musician) (Dragons Laire, March 3-5)
May Crown (Ambergard, May 19-21)
The Grand Thing (Stromgard, May 26-29)
Champions Tourney (3M, June 9-11)
July Coronation (Dragons Laire, July 14-16)
Beaverton Farmer's Market Demo (July 22)
Bows & Blades (3M, August 11-13)
Sheepstow (Wyewood, August 18-20)
September Crown (Shittemwoode, Sept 1-4)
Art Show (Gresham, Sept 19)
Kingdom Bardic Championship (Dragons Laire, Sept 22-24)
Dusty Strings Harp Symposium (Seattle, Nov 3-5)
Three Mountains/Stromgard Yule Feast (Dec 16)
2007:
Twelth Night (Dragon's Laire, Jan 12-14)
Kingdom A&S (Mountain Edge)
Faire in the Grove (Dragons Mist)
May Crown (Vulkanfeldt)
The Grand Thing (Stromgard)
Sport of Kings IV (3M)
September Crown (Blatha An Oir)
Autumn War (Blatha An Oir)
Crown Council (Stromgard)
Yule Feast (Kaldor)
2008:
Twelth Night (Lions Gate)
The Grand Thing (Stromgard)
Faire in the Grove (Dragons Mist)
Picnic in the Park (3M)
Autumn War (Blatha An Oir)
September Crown (Madrone)
Dusty Strings Harp Symposium (Seattle, Oct 24-26)
Upcoming Events:
Yule Feast (3M)
2009:
Twelth Night (Adiantum)
July Coronation (3M)
Sport of Kings V (3M)