Edinburgh International Harp Festival opens.

Harp lovers across the world will be gathering at Edinburgh’s Merchiston Castle School from today, to join in a celebration of traditional music from the celtic fringe, and further afield.

Musicians from countries as diverse as Holland, Sweden, Poland, China, Africa and Colombia will gather to share their music – and their talents.

Performers include Lamine Cissokho from Senegal, a descendant of a famous musical dynasty that trace their roots back to the 15th century. He has been playing the African kora (harp) and other traditional West African instruments since the age of ten.

Edmar Castaneda is another attractive performer. From humble beginnings in Colombia, his musical inspiration came through his musician mother and local folklore traditions.

The festival has been running in Edinburgh for thirty years, and continues to thrive. Its Artistic Advisor, Isobel Mieras, comments with a twinkle in her eye,
“It’s a troublesome baby – it’s got big and successful, and looking after it becomes harder and harder!”

Originally for dedicated students of harp and other traditional instruments, the festival has become a growing attraction for lovers of traditional and folk music more widely.

“A lot of people think it’s a bit po-faced, but believe me, harp music can be exciting!”

Performances will be augmented by courses and workshops designed for everyone from the youngest child touching a clarsach for the first time, through to experienced players.

Young harpist, Elinor Evans, can be heard in this piece playing a traditional Scots tune, arranged by Isobel Mieras.