World Harp Traditions Conference 2018

Date: 25th May 2018 to 27th May 2018
Location: Irish World Academy, University of Limerick

World Harp Traditions is a 3-day conference at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick (UL), Ireland (25–27 May, 2018). This is organised by Ionad na Cruite, the UL Harp Research Cluster. For this conference we engage the broadest conception of ‘harp’ with a view to exploring the music, communities and practices of harp traditions globally and aspire to instigate debate and discussion about harps in international contexts. By interacting with diverse music cultures, styles and perspectives we envisage a rich and nuanced interpretation of harp meanings and raise the possibility of exploring similarities and differences in harp musics and cultures.

Concert performances and workshops organised by the conference committee will also form part of the conference.

The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Paulla A. Ebron, Stanford University, author of Performing Africa (Princeton University Press, 2002).

The closing date for submission of abstracts is 18th December 2017. Please include a 300-word abstract and contact details (email, institutional affiliation). Abstracts will be peer reviewed. Participants will be notified of acceptance by 15th January 2018. Please send submissions to: worldharp@ul.ie

Keynote Address, Professor Paulla A. Ebron

Music and Memory: West African Kora in the World of Harp

The sound of the kora evokes a resonance with the flow of water. The twenty-one string harp-like instrument traces its roots to the 13th century West African Malian empire. The kora’s sound can move people to tears through its association with memory and history. Like the Celtic harp, the instrument weaves together culture, politics, and history. While it is a well-known truism that music moves across ethnic and national boundaries, it is also necessary to consider how music moves listeners within a particular historical landscape. This presentation moves back and forth between universal and local ways that music, as form and expression, moves. The paper extends an appreciation of the reverberations of the kora's history and sound with histories of other harp traditions.

Conference committee:

Dr Helen Lawlor
Dr Sandra Joyce
Paul Dooley
Dr Cliona Doris
Dr Niall Keegan
Fiana Ní Chonaill