CD A0342: Celtic Journeys

Celtic Journeys
Brandywine Harps


CD cover: Celtic JourneysJourney with us! It's been a 2 year musical endeavor and we are excited to present our second CD Celtic Journeys. This recording features the 15-harp orchestra in new works by Catriona McKay, Michael Rooney, Laura Zaerr, Donald Shaw, Sue Richards, Louise Pratt and Janet Witman.

Buy this album now    CD: £12.00 + p&p  

Further recordings & sheet music from Brandywine Harps

Track Listing & Audio Samples

1. Rolling Waves / Carolan’s Favorite Jig
2. Scottish Reel Medley
3. Gaelic Gavotte
4. Thomas Moore Medley
5. Swan LK243
6. Land’s End / Lovely Margaret / The Road of the Oak Trees
7. Bonny Portmore
8. Blind Mary
9. Brian Boru’s March
10. Pulling Bracken / The Chanter
11. Celtic Hymn
12. Fingal’s Cave / Dona Nobis Pacem
13. Danny Boy
14. The Butterfly / Jack Broke the Prison Door
15. The Harp Schlepper’s Rag

CD Notes & Credits


1.  The Rolling Waves/Carolan's Favourite Jig - Our CD begins with an Irish march, inspired by America's beloved harper Sue Richards from her Irish Tunebook. The jig is one of Turlough O'Carolan's hits of the 1700's. Both pieces are arranged for BH by Janet Witman.

2.  Scottish Reel Medley - features three reels, Marry Me Now, Glenlivet and Sleep Sound in da Mornin'. These are first played as hornpipes, then into reels and ultimately played all together ! Honorary BH members Lianna Sanford and Jake Vidumsky join in on the madness!

3. Gaelic Gavotte - is composed by Scottish musician Donald Shaw, founder of the famous Scottish band, This piece was inspired by his love of the music of Brittany and premiered at the Celtic Connections Festival in '04. The arrangement is by Scottish harper Catriona McKay.

4.  Thomas Moore Medley - Ireland's famous poet from Dublin used traditional melodies in his songwriting. Janet chose three of her favorites to arrange this medley-The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls/The Minstrel Boy/The Last Rose of Summer.

5.  Swan LK243- This has quickly become our favourite piece! It was composed by recording artist and Scottish harp virtuoso Catriona McKay while sailing on board the Swan LK243 during the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race along the south tip of Shetland in1999. Janet commissioned Catriona to arrange it in three parts for BH, one month before it was recorded in May 2008. Thanks, Catriona!

6.  Land's End/Lovely Margaret/ The Road of the Oak Trees - The music of Michael Rooney of County Monaghan is spreading like a wave across the Celtic harp world. His beautiful melodies and innovative harmonies are wonderful to play and listen to. He and his wife June McCormack form the Celtic harp and Irish flute duo, Draiocht. This track has Janet Witman and Pam Dimeler playing three tunes found in his collection of original harp music, Harp Tunes, Vol 1.

7.  Bonny Portmore - This poignant song tells of the destruction of Ireland's old forests to build ships for the British Navy. The opening harp solo and sweeping arpeggios are from the Celtic Concerto by Oregon composer and harpist Laura BH member Deb Mackie sings this heartbreaking story.

8.  Blind Mary - Turlough O'Carolan composed this piece for his friend Maire Dhall, another blind harper. Janet and Margaret Love start the piece in unison followed by the harp orchestra.

9.  Brian Boru's March - This piece bears the legendary name of Ireland's first and last High King and is played by harper all over the world. BH member Marilyn Herler are woven together in an arrangement by Janet.

10. Pulling Bracken/The Chanter- Two traditional Celtic melodies are woven together in an arrangement by Janet.

11. A Celtic Hymn - Entitled, I Feel the Winds of God Today, this arrangement for two harps is by harpist Loise Pratt of Utah and is played by Rebecca Buchanan and Kathryn Blackhurst - BH's outstanding teenage harpists. The melody is reminiscent of the Irish tune, Star of the County Down and the American hymn, I heard the Voice of Jesus Say. Her music is available at

12.  Fingal's Cave/Dona Nobis Pacem - BH members Nancy Loux and Margaret Love participated in a choir tour of Scotland in the summer of 2007. They had the opportunity to take a small boat into an ancient rock formation called Fingal's Cave. In the cave they sang Dona Nobis Pacem. BH recreates the moment.

13.  Danny Boy - This beloved piece is first played by the orchestra, then sung by BH member Melissa Heieie.

14.  The Butterfly/Jack Broke the Prison Door - The Butterfly was composed by Irish musician Tommy Potts. The reel was taken from Sue Richards' Scottish Tune book and features the stepdancing of BH member Pam Dimeler. Both pieces arranged for BH by Janet.

15.  The Harp Schlepper's Rag - dedicated to Thom Remington and harp schleppers everywhere! Janet has given Carolan's Concerto an American twist.



All arrangements by Janet Witman except where indicated.
Special thanks to Donald Shaw, Catriona McKay, Michael Rooney, Louise Pratt and Laura Zaerr for permission to record their music. Thanks for being our Celtic connection!

The Brandywine Harp Orchestra was organized in 2000 by Janet Witman, winner of the U.S. National Scottish Harp Championship and the All Eastern Clarsach Championship. Janet teaches and performs on the Celtic and classical harp and resides in the Bramdywine Valley of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The orchestra consists of 16 Celtic harpers of diverse ages with advanced harp skills and extensive musical backgrounds.

Orchestra Members:
Jeanette Bergstrom, Sherry Bitner, Kathryn Blackhurst, Rebecca Buchanan,Pam Dimeler, Cindy Dinetta, Melissa Heieie, Marilyn Hertler, Nancy Loux, Margaret Love, Deb Mackie, Fran McGaughey, Kris McGuckin, Jupie Seaholm, Carole Smith and Janet Witman.

Special Thanks to :
Fran and Dave McGaughey for opening their home, Castle Hearth to be used as our recording studio. Deb Mackie for CD graphic design Thom Remington for the photos of Scotland's Eilean Donan Castle, and Fingal's Cave. Scott Dimeler for his photo of BH taken at the Delaware Art Museum Labyrinth, August 2007.
Dave Lock, recording engineer, mastering and editing genius!
Catriona McKay for her inspiration and musical and musical treasures. All the BH members and their families for their time, talents and dedication in aspiring to great music making.

Produced by Janet Witman

2008 Brandywine Harps.



Album Information

Instruments: Harp Orchestra
Genre: Traditional Celtic
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0342
MCPS: --
Label: Brandywine Harps
Year: 2008
Origin: USA