Rome Sentinel

Duo plays Irish harp and guitar concert

UTICA International duo Maire Ni Chathasaigh and Chris Newman perform an Irish harp and guitar duo concert at 7 p.m. Friday, March 24 at the Irish Cultural Center of the Mohawk Valley-Museum, 623 Columbia St.

Their performances are rooted but eclectic, emotional but adventurous; in short, a blend of traditional Irish music, swing jazz and bluegrass, coupled with new compositions.

Chathasaigh is one of Ireland’s most influential traditional musicians, described by the late Derek Bell of the Chieftains as “the most interesting and original player of the Irish harp today.” Since the 1970s, she has developed new techniques that have since become the norm amongst her contemporaries and the younger generation of Irish musicians. Her pioneering efforts have been credited with the renaissance of the harp in recent years.

Newman is an entirely self-taught virtuoso who’s been obsessed with the guitar since the age of four when he badgered his parents into buying one for him. At 14 he played his first paid gig in a folk club. He met the great swing guitarist Diz Disley in his late teens and played with him the length and breadth of the UK. Newman still cites jazz guitarist Denny Wright as the primary influence on his distinctive and melodic style of improvisation.

The concert is in the H.A.R.P. Museum. Tickets are available for $25 in advance on EventBrite by visiting or $35 at the door.

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