The lilting harp of Celia Briar, with a consort of recorder, violin and cello present a delightful collection of traditional airs on ’Her Mantle Is So Green’ that evoke the misty green beauty of ancient Celtic lands.
Celia Briar was born in Nottinghamshire England in 1950, into a family with strong roots in traditional music. Both her mother’s and father’s families were musicians, and Briar began to sing harmonies with her mother when she was just a pre-schooler. As a young adult, Briar was ’adopted’ by the local Irish musicians who encouraged her to join them and she spent much of her time in smoky pubs, playing along with pipes, fiddles and accordions on jigs and reels.
But it was not until the age of 27 that Briar discover the appeal of the Celtic harp. Although she was studying for her Doctorate in Social Sciences, she was unable to resist the beauty of the harp. She sought out two excellent teachers, one classical and the other traditional, and began studying harp alongside her university work. In 1983, she was won first place at the All Ireland Celtic Harp championships in Kilkenny, Ireland. Her lilting, sensitive playing has earned her acclaim both in the British Isles and the Southern Hemisphere.
"When I first heard the harp, I was blown away by its beauty," Briar says. "It conjured up all this imagery of an earlier time. It evoked in my mind a wealth of images of stone floored buildings and long wooden tables, and travelling harpers."
The talented player moved to New Zealand in 1988, and there she now writes, performs and records, as well as lecturing in Social Policy at Massey University. She is a passionate advocate of social and environmental issues.
"Her wonderful interpretation of classic tunes is a joy to even the most hardened sceptic. In addition to her technical mastery, she plays with real spunk." - Norman McLeod