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Chris Caswell

Name: Chris Caswell
Photo - Chris Caswell
Location: Oakland
United States 94610
Contact: chriscaswell.net

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Additional Info: Chris Caswell is one of the world’s finest players and builders of the Celtic Harp. He is also a respected performer on the Scottish bagpipes, Irish flute, tinwhistle and bodhran (Irish frame drum). A true Celtic bard, folk musician and singer, he is a natural raconteur, knowledgeable historian and musicologist. His performances cast a bright spell with the music and his obvious delight in playing. His music is infused by his Welsh heritage, and by the world traditions of the Middle East and South America.

From the time he was very young, Chris has had an intense fascination and love for music. From his Welsh background, Chris inherited his interest in Celtic Arts, especially the playing
of the harp, an instrument which had lain dormant for several hundred years in most of the British Isles. During the seventies in the United States, Chris was a seminal influence in re-
introducing the Celtic harp to American players - a renaissance that occurred in his native Northern California.

In his teen years, Chris studied in Scotland with Donald MacPherson at the College of Piping in Glasgow and later with Donald Shaw Ramsay. He studied harp with Allison Kinnaird in Edinburgh and worked with folklorist Peter Kennedy in Devon, England. This training served him well during his years of touring America and Europe with Robin Williamson and his Merry Band and the duo Caswell Carnahan. More recently, he has augmented his earlier
composition studies by working with the well-known composer and teacher Allaudin Mathieu.

HOLY WOOD (2001) is Chris’ solo bronze-strung harp CD. The rare and hauntingly beautiful instrument is presented in a mix of music from The British Isles and France. CELTIC IDINGS is his well-loved holiday CD. In addition, Chris is featured onmore than thirty recordings including Bonnie Rideout’s multi-award winning GIMME ELBOW ROOM and Grammy nominated KINDRED SPIRITS. Chris was a featured artist on “A Scottish Christmas Tour” and “Live from the National Geographic” in the late nineties.

Over the past thirty- five years, Chris has built over 1000 harps for musicians around the world. Caswell Harps are considered among the finest available and are known for their
blend of tradition, craftsmanship and innovative technical design.

Between his own playing, touring and harp building, Chris has found time to teach. Currently he teaches privately in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as offering workshops as an entertaining and educational adjunct to his concert appearances. A natural and joyful teacher, he has held harp retreats throughout the country, and has taught for years at several major music camps including Lark Camp in Mendocino, The Golden Toad Camp in Sonoma County and Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Fiddling School.

Chris has also been active in national music organizations. He has served as National Chairman of the Scottish Harp Society of America and is a member of the Judges Panel of the Western United States Pipe Band Association. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy. Locally, he has served as Pipe Major of the City of Petaluma Pipe Band, and co-founded the Sebastopol Celtic Festival.

Recently, Chris was honored to appear in January, 2009 as a guest of the Chieftains at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa, CA. He has appeared at numerous festivals and house
concerts as well as performing yearly in the San Francisco Dickens Festival. He has often played with The Revels in Oakland, CA, and appeared this year at the Festival of Harps in

See Chris's videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/clarsar
Additional Specialisms: Session Work, Solo Performance, Improvisation
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