Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

CAROLAN

(b Turlough O'Carolan, 1670, Newton near Nobber, Co. Meath; d 25 March 1738, Alderford) Irish harper, composer. He was blinded by smallpox at 18; a patroness enabled him to study harp for three years, then he travelled as a bard, composing tunes honouring families and homesteads that supported him, as was the custom. Unusually, his music was preserved; the earliest book of his tunes is also the earliest collection of Irish secular music. His music has been adapted for many instruments; Derek Bell of the Chieftains (among others) has recorded them on harp, guitarist Richard Thompson one of the most beautiful ('Sheebeg And Sheemore'). The Carolan Albums were two cassettes or one CD on Old Bridge Music by harpist Maire Ni Chathasaigh and guitarist Chris Newman. Carolan's Harp '97 on DHM/BMG by Andrew Lawrence-King and the Harp Consort was billed as 'Encounters between folk-music and art-music in baroque Ireland'.