Alison Vardy   Solo Celtic Harpist  
  Image: Victoria BC Canada   Contact | Map | Search   
|||Home> Alison's Biography

Alison's Biography
The Canadian Kiwi

"For any musician passion is essential.
The passion to communicate emotion
and the human spirit through music."

  The Kiwi Connection  

Solo Celtic harp music is Alison's passion. She started playing the harp in 1985 while living in Gore, a small town in the South Island of New Zealand, noted for its annual country music festival. Struggling with such odds she persisted at her craft, earning her first gig….. with the local hearing impaired group!

Alison was able to pursue a more Celtic flavour when she moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, and was soon active as a musician in the New Edinburgh Folk Club (Dunedin is Gaelic for Edinburgh and is the Celtic capital of NZ). She became a key member of a succession of performance groups including Blarney Rose who produced a tape and were dubbed the Irish Light Orchestra of the South because of their proliferation of members.

In 1993 Alison built her 2nd instrument, a 36-string Paraguayan Harp, at a harp making workshop in Australia. Immediately following was the First Australian Harp Festival where Alison performed between the constant re-tunings of the Paraguayan's new strings.

Blarney Rose - Circa 1992
Blarney Rose

In 1996 Creative New Zealand funded Alison on a professional musician development trip to the International Folk Harp Conference in Olympia, Washington. A year later, she produced her first solo CD, Harping On.

In 1997 Alison did a tour of the South Island of New Zealand with with a series of dates including a gig in a large winery cave with Dunedin soprano Anna Goode. Later that year Alison re-emigrated back to Canada with her husband, Stephen, and her two now teenaged children.


  Alison's Harps  

Alison now lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and performs extensively as a professional musician on the Paraguayan and Celtic harps for concerts, weddings, schools, corporate, recording sessions, community and private events. Her most recent acquisition is a superb sounding 36-string NOVA lever harp made by Sandpiper Instruments (John Westling) in Oregon. See the Harps page.


  Alison's Music  

Alison has recorded three CDs. Her first, Harping On (1997) celebrated her farewell from Dunedin NZ with Celtic tunes and Latin rhythms.

Her second, Apasionada (2000) took her on a journey through many diverse cultures with music from around the globe.

Alison's most recent CD, Island Suite (2003) has brought her music home to Canada with an emphasis on Canadian and Westcoast themes.

She counts herself lucky to have received extensive training on the piano when she was young. She translates these skills for teaching herself and others on the harp, as well as for arranging and composing her own music.

Recording in Victoria BC


  Alison's Repertoire  

Alison's repertoire now includes over 20 hours of music memorized from which she can improvise indefinitely and creatively arrange to everyone's delight. Her compositions made up 50% of the recording time on her last CD. Making music is what Alison is all about. Her joy!

Alison's repertoire is constantly expanding as she explores the many voices of the harp. Initially Celtic, then Celtic and Latin and then music of the world translated and arranged for harp. Her current repertoire reflects her passion for multicultural music. She is now on an exploration of early Canadian tunes and early music in general.


  The Future  

Alison now works primarily as a soloist but has been a part of duos and ensembles, and is currently collaborating with other musicians with the desire to present a duo concert series. For the last seven years Alison has presented concerts throughout British Columbia's Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland.

Alison Vardy with her harps

To Alison,
The Rainbow Harpist

You have left the rainbow,
The sun, the moon,
the stars,
so much behind you.

Until you had gone
I did not know that you had left
the rivers, the forests,
the silences.
I did not know
I should always remember
your music in my heart.

Viva Alison,
Mucho gracias…
Peter Jacobson,
New Zealand


The interweaving of rhythm,
melody and harmony
fascinates me, particularly
when played on such a
beautiful instrument
as the harp!

On my recordings you
will hear music and
musical influences from...

Cape Breton
East Africa

Spain (Ladino)
Balkan Countries Central America
Eastern Europe
New Zealand
France (Britany) The Caribbean
The Shetlands



Alison Vardy - Solo Celtic Harpist
         |Contact Alison Vardy

For a
Detailed Quote




Listen to

Broadband Only - Listen to harp tunes on your MP3 player

Stop Play


Watch the

Broadband Only - Watch the video on your MPG player

6.9 Mb File


Opt-In for

Receive Alison's Newsletter up to 6x Annually
Six Times


>>> |Home> Alison's Biography> Contact Alison
Copyright ©
Alison Vardy, Solo Celtic Harpist
View Source for Copyright & Credits