Alison Vardy   Solo Celtic Harpist  
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Alison's Harps
For the Sheer Joy of It!
A Harp Journey


  Harplust Starts  

In 1983 Alison and Stephen Vardy were "tramping" (NZ hiking word) on a volcanic peak on the North Island of New Zealand where we met this bearded character with his backpack stuffed with musical instruments. Soon enough, this very accommodating gent, Andy Rigby, hosted us for a number weeks at his home in Melbourne, Australia later that year.

It turned out that Andy was a "muso" of the first order who played almost any stringed, wind or percussion instrument very, very well. An instrumentalist of major proportions. His latest acquisition was a Celtic harp and Alison was smitten just as he was with this instrument as she continuously experimented with this harp in his front room. So began her passion for solo Celtic harp music.


  The First Celtic Harp  

After emigrating to NZ in 1984 Alison acquired her first harp on Andy's recommendation, a 30 string Celtic made by Kim Webby (see image below on left). This was Alison's only instrument for eight years pending Andy's next visit.

Alison Vardy  - Celtic & Paraguayan harps
Webby Celtic - Alison's Paraguayan


  Then Came the Paraguayan Harp  

In 1992 Alison first saw and played a Paraguayan harp for the first time which by then Australian professional harper and harp luthier Andy Rigby performed on during his then NZ tour. Andy also played with Australia's foremost harp trio, "Moving Harps". Andy made all the instruments for the trio. Later that year, Alison built her first performance instrument under Andy Rigby's tutelage at his workshop in Victoria, Australia. It is a 36 string Paraguayan style harp with a tone that is rich and warm, well suited to Alison's sensitive arrangements and expressive playing. (see image above on right) The Paraguayan is featured on all three of Alison's CDs.


  The Sandpiper Nova Celtic Harp  

One of Alison's more recent harps is a 36 string Nova Celtic lever harp from John Westling of Sandpiper Harps in Oregon which is the most exciting harp yet! Having literally test played hundreds of lever harps in NZ, Australia, Canada and the US - this is it! A gorgeous performance lever harp with rich deep notes and a bright sparkle that plays with effortless ease. It literally has a bass sound to die for! The Nova is the large harp in the image below on the left and is featured on Alison's CDs Island Suite and Apasionada.

Alison Vardy  - Celtic & Paraguayan harps Sandpiper Nova Celtic - Bresch Celtic - Webby Celtic
- Alison's Paraguayan -

  The Walter Bresch Celtic/Lever Harp  

Alison also plays on a number of other harps including a black 33 string Celtic lever harp in the middle, above made by Walter Bresch of British Columbia which has great volume and tone throughout. The clarity of its "voice" makes this a great recording instrument. It is featured in Alison's CD Apasionada.

Alison also still has the 30 string gut strung Celtic blade harp crafted by Kim Webby of Whangarei, NZ. (see above image on the right) This harp has a more traditional soft Celtic sound. This harp along with Alison's Paraguayan harp are featured on the CD Harping On. Kim now makes extraordinarily beautiful, professional concert pedal harps which he sells worldwide.


Alison With her Nova Celtic Harp


  The Latest Addition  

Alison has recently purchased a Paraguayan harp shipped from Asunción, Paraguay. To be continued.....


  Harp Lessons & Workshops  

It is inevitable where anybody can hear the live harp - some are touched more deeply than others. After hearing Alison's proficiency on the harp others often wish to emulate. So Alison became a teacher of the harp - no ordinary one mind you but rather a teacher that taught independence on the harp along with a good base of skills and technique. Eventually her students become proficient and self-directed with Alison being their occasional mentor. This is a very enjoyable path into musicianship.

Alison currently provides harp lessons and either teaches or hosts harp workshops from Victoria British Columbia.


   Harp Sales & Rentals  

Alison has also started a new enterprise with West Coast Harps Online sales. Harps are now available to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

If you live in the Victoria BC area Alison has several rental harps available for those considering playing the harp. Renting is an excellent way to find out if harping is for you. You can learn the "feel" and sound of a harp so you are informed when you purchase your own. A consultation lesson may start you on your own path of harplust.


|Harp Lessons & Rentals
|Harp Workshops
|West Coast Harps Online Sales
|Harp Notes Newsletter



Alison Vardy - Solo Celtic Harpist
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