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Ancient music to cast its spell July 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.

Ancient music to soothe the modern heart is about to cast its spell in Belfast.

Healing is the theme for the third international lyre conference which opens on Thursday. Two hundred people from 16 different countries are expected to take part in playing the modern equivalent of an ancient Greek instrument, the lyre.

They will meet in the University area of the city, around Queen’s University and Methodist College. Eleven people from across the world who build lyres are also travelling to Northern Ireland to play their part in the music making. Among the lyre builders taking part is Sam Irwin from Bangor who designs a Celtic lyre which has been sold as far away as Japan.

According to the conference organisers, the ancient lyre was associated with healing and spirituality. The ancient Greeks could prescribe one note to be played on the lyre to heal an illness.

“We have now lost much of that profound wisdom, but lyre music today is instantly recognisable as soothing and relaxing,” a spokeswoman said.

‘Healing’ > “The modern lyre was originally introduced into Camphill Communities for therapeutic uses, and although its usage has now extended into a more social setting, the healing, soothing quality of the instrument still shines through.”

The conference is being organised in association with the Camphill Communities Trust in Northern Ireland.

The Celtic instrument was developed at Kilkeel’s Camphill Community which caters for children, young people and adults who need special care because of mental, emotional and behavioural disabilities. The Celtic lyre resembles a small hand-held harp with 35 strings and is suitable for both music therapy and traditional folk music. Children will also have the chance to perfect their lyre skills.

The conference opens with the Celtic Lyre Orchestra on Thursday 27 July.

A concert of international lyre players will perform on Sunday 30 July and the conference is to close with the world premiere of ‘Everyman’ written for the occasion by Colin Tanser on Tuesday 1 August.

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