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Colin Harte: Author of "The Bodhrán"

Thursday 9 April 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa McCarthy
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After graduating from UL with an MA in Ethnomusicology. Colin Harte completed his PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Florida (UF) with a research focus upon the teaching of samba and choro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At UF, he founded and performed with the UF Irish traditional music ensemble. After graduation, he returned to teach in the NYCDOE where he teaches courses in piano, music technology, and West African percussion (50 student ensemble entitled Beats by Kappa). He also teaches ethnomusicology courses focused upon Irish traditional music, pop music in the USA, and intro to music of the world for CUNY-Irish Studies/Music. He also continues to perform Irish traditional music on the piano and bodhrán in concerts/sessions in NYC.


Colin can now add published author to his string of accomplishments, as his book entitled "The Bodhrán Experimentation, Innovation, and the Traditional Irish Frame Drum" will be published by the Univ of Tennessee Press this May.

Colin's book presents a definitive history of the bodhrán from its early origins to its present-day resurgence in Irish American folk music.

In the past fifty years, the bodhrán, or traditional Irish circular frame drum, has undergone a rapid evolution in development. Traditionally, it is a shallow drum ranging from ten to twenty-six inches in diameter, covered in goatskin on the top (or drum) side and open on the other. Unlike any other instrument associated with Irish traditional music, the bodhrán has been dramatically altered by its confrontation with modern instrument design, performance techniques, and musical practice. 

The bodhrán has global roots and bears many characteristics of older drums from northern Africa and the Middle East. Harte picks up on these basic similarities and embarks on an engaging tour of the instrument’s historical and organological development, gradual evolution in playing styles, and more recent history of performative practice. Drawing from a host of interviews over a multi-year period with participants primarily located in Europe and North America, this work provides a platform for multiple perspectives regarding the bodhrán. Participants include bodhrán makers, professional performers, educators, amateur musicians, historians, and enthusiasts. Growing out of rich ethnographic interviews, this book serves as the definitive reference for understanding and navigating the developments in the bodhrán’s history, organology, performance practices, and repertoire.

For more information on Colin Harte, see his Facebook page and Youtube Channel.



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