The Canadian Kiwi
"For any musician passion is essential.
The passion to communicate emotion
and the human spirit through music."
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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
Alison's most recent CD, Island
Suite (2003) has brought her music home
to Canada with an emphasis on Canadian and
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Rainbow Harpist
You have left
The sun, the moon,
so much behind you.
I did not know that you had left
the rivers, the forests,
I did not know
I should always remember
your music in my heart.
The interweaving of rhythm,
melody and harmony
fascinates me, particularly
when played on such a
as the harp!
On my recordings
will hear music and
musical influences from...
Balkan Countries Central America
France (Britany) The Caribbean