Kavan Donohoe
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Kavan Donohoe

Cavan, Ulster, Ireland

Cavan, Ulster, Ireland
Band Folk Celtic


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"The Harp"

A harp is a stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicular to the soundboard. As many other non-percussion instruments, it can also be used as a percussion instrument. [1] All harps have a neck, resonator and strings. Some, known as frame harps, also have a forepillar; those lacking the forepillar are referred to as open harps. Depending on its size (which varies considerably), a harp may be played while held in the lap or while stood on the floor. Harp strings can be made of nylon (sometimes wound around copper), gut (more commonly used than nylon), wire, or silk. A person who plays the harp is called a harpist or a harper. Folk and Celtic musicians often use the term "harper," whereas classical/pedal musicians use "harpist."

Various types of harps are found in Africa, Europe, North, and South America, and a few parts of Asia. In antiquity harps and the closely related lyres were very prominent in nearly all musical cultures, but they lost popularity in the early 19th century with Western music composers, being thought of primarily as a woman's instrument after Marie Antoinette popularised it as an activity for women.

The aeolian harp (wind harp), the autoharp, and all forms of the lyre and Kithara are not harps because their strings are not perpendicular to the soundboard; they are part of the zither family of instruments along with the piano and harpsichord. In blues music, the Harmonica is called a "Blues harp" or "harp", but it is a free reed wind instrument, not a stringed instrument

Most European-derived harps have a single row of strings with strings for each note of the C Major scale (over several octaves). Harpists can tell which strings they are playing because all F strings are black or blue and all C strings are red or orange. The instrument rests between the knees of the harpist and along their right shoulder. The Welsh triple harp and early Irish and Scottish harps, however, are traditionally placed on the left shoulder (in order to have it over the heart).

The first four fingers of each hand are used to pluck the strings; the little fingers are too short and cannot reach the correct position without distorting the position of the other fingers, although on some folk harps with light tension, closely spaced strings, they may occasionally be used. Also, the little finger is not strong enough to pluck a string. Plucking with varying degrees of force creates dynamics. Depending on finger position, different tones can be produced: a fleshy pluck (near the middle of the first finger joint) will make a warm tone, while a pluck near the end of the finger will make a loud, bright sound

- Various Sources

"Kavan Donohoe winner of John Dungan Cup at the Granard Harp Festival"

Kavan Donohoe winner of John Dungan Cup at the Granard Harp Festival

Competitions were held in the Sacred Heart School, Granard on Saturday Last .
Competion classes were held for Novice (U-2 years tuition)
U-12, U-15, U-18, 0-18, and Harp duet (harp and one other instrument) with many cups, trophies, crystal and a prize fund of over €2,500.

Kavan Started his harp lessons with Miss Kim Fleming in the Granard Harp School in 1999 ,he now studies Harp with Aongus Rooney Co Monaghan and Uilleann Pipes with Mr P J Flood Co Cavan .
1781 saw the first ever Harp Festival in Granard, County Longford. The premiums were generous in terms of money. The first prize was 10 Guineas, second prize 8 Guineas and third prize 5 Guineas. "The Market House" built some time before 1691 was the scene of the old Festivals which were initiated and funded by John Dungan, a native of Granard, a wealthy businessman living in Copenhagen. The aim of the festival was to revive public interest in the Irish Harp and Irish Harp Music.
Two hundred years later in 1981 the people of Granard hoted a commemorative bi-centennial Harp Festival. One of the ambitions of the committee responsible for the revival of the Granard Harp Festival was that Harp music be brought into the modern world and the ancient tradition would not only be preserved, but would become the basis for further development. Granard may once again rekindle a new flame of interest in the Irish Harp.
'The Canon's Cup' refers to the perpetual trophy and prize for the 1981 bi-centenary festival sponsored by the Very Reverend Canon Francis Gilfillan. In 1981 the first winner of the top prize was Ms Anne Heyman, USA and in 2006 the winner was Lynsey Moynagh from Dublin.
The present committee have re-established the Harp School, employing top class and well known teachers. The aims are the same as those of John Dungan back in 1781 - to promote the Irish Harp and Harp music.

During his travels O'Carolan stayed as a guest with Lord and Lady Nugent at 'The Lodge', Castlenugent (now Smiths) from 1720 to 1721. While there he composed several tunes including one for the yougest daughter of the house (Grace) hence the Grace Nugent cup. Another tune composed by O'Carolan was 'Miss Fetherston' who was visiting in the Granard area at the same time. O'Carolan encountered Miss Fetherston while on his way to Mass in Granardkille. She was on her way to St Patrick's Church of Ireland service in Granard.
- Anglo Celt

"Cavan boy wins harp competition"

Cavan boy wins harp competition
Thursday, 5th June 2003

The aptly named Kavan Donohoe, from the Golf Links Road in Cavan, has taken first prize in the Granard Harp Competition, though he is just eleven years old. Up against competitors form Down, Longford, Meath, Westmeath, Monaghan and Limerick, Kavan managed to impress adjudicator Cormac De Barra and he was awarded the O'Rourke Perpetual Trophy and a cheque. Kavan, the son of last year's Cavanman of the Year Martin, is taught by Aonghus Rooney of Scotstown, as is his sister Savannah, and they also attend Sue Donohoe's classes in Cavan town. He first took up the harp with Kim Fleming in the Granard Harp School five years ago.
- Irish Emigrant Publications.


A call From the MUSICAL HEART of Cavan
Tasty Touches Martin Donohoe
St Patricks College Christmas Special 2007
The Caught Bouquet 2005
Kavan From Cavan 2011



Kavan Donohoe 20-04-1992 Cavan Town Co. Cavan
Has just completed his Leaving Cert in St Patrick’s College Cavan and is now a 1st year student in University College Dublin (UCD).
Started playing the harp at the age of 7 with the Granard Harp School under Kim Fleming, then moved on to study with Michael, Fionnuala and Aonghus Rooney from Scotstown Co Monaghan. Kavan also plays the Uilleann Pipes and Guitar. Kavan won the O’Carolan International Harp Festival (Keadue, Co. Roscommon) at the age of 16 and has won the Granard Traditional junior Harp Festival on several occasions. Kavan recently won the Grace Nugent Cup at the recent Granard Harp Festival in April. Winner of The Under 18 Ulster Fleadh in July of this year. Performed on music shows such as Blas (BBC2), The Fleadh Programme (RTE) and Mass on Sunday (RTE) and also featured on RTE Radio1, RTE Radio Na Gaeltachta, RTE 2FM and BBC Radio Ulster. Shannonside/Northern Sound Joe Finnegan/Charlie Mc Gettigan/Johnny O Keefe shows and the Ryan Tubridy RTE One radio show. In the summer of 2008 Kavan worked with Brian Irvine in a moving on music project within the county and has played at many of the traditional festivals all over Europe including France, Italy and Switzerland at harp festivals and traditional Irish festivals and has performed solo for the Prince of Wales in Northern Ireland. Highlights include the Shetland Festival, County Sessions at the Button Factory Dublin, Corofin Trad festival, Catskills Irish music week USA, Féile Oriel Monaghan and the Nyah Festival. He was also an award winner at the highly competitive Meitheal Summer School in Limerick 2008 and a recipient of a Cavan Co Council Arts Act grant towards his EPK media pack and played support for fiddler Zoë Conway and singers Sean O Se and Andy Irvine among others and toured fourteen venues with Macalla na hÉireann, 2009 Comhaltas Concert Tour of Ireland. Kavan is working member of the Seachtain Na h’Eigse, All Ireland Fleadh 2010 Cavan committee and works on Tune Arrangements with the Cavan Town CCE Branch youth members every fortnight Kavan’s influence’s include Michael Rooney, Niall Vallely, Laoise Kelly, John Mc Sherry, Cormac Breatnach, and Donal Lunny. Kavan has recorded tracks on the CD set A Call from The musical Heart of Cavan and Blúiríní Blasta. Check harp sound samples at www.myspace.com/kavandonohoe sonicbids.com/kavandonohoe Info :Kavan 0860704827 Email:kavandonohoe@gmail.com And Web www.cavanmusic.com . This project is assisted by Cavan County Council under the 1973 Arts Act Grant.

Read more: www.kavan.me