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Healing harpist

Julia Haines performs at UCCC in Stone Ridge this Thursday

by Sue Pilla
September 22, 2011 12:17 PM | 0 0 comments | 1054 1054 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Julia Haines
Julia Haines
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On the eve of the Equinox, this Thursday, September 22 at 7 p.m., musician, composer and harpist Julia Haines will make a rare area appearance in a featured concert for SUNY-Ulster’s Words and Music series. Called a “harper among harpists” by the Irish press, Haines has developed a unique approach to the Celtic harp. She has honed a brand of songmaking that showcases diverse influences from throughout the world.

With a program featuring a variety of materials, ranging from sung poetry to a Mohawk thanksgiving prayer to African oral folk traditions, Haines has immersed herself in words that have been passed down through the ages – words that “convey the wisdom of the Earth.” Her signature composition, Thunder: Perfect Mind, based on years of research, was inspired by a text from the Nag Hammadi Library, a Coptic manuscript from approximately 350 CE.

Haines was a well-known performer and musical practitioner while a full-time resident in Ulster County in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, performing on piano, harp and accordion. She earned a widespread reputation through her collaborative work with the Creative Music Studio, the Vanaver Caravan, the Music Mobile, Laura Simms, Steve Gorn, Glen Velez and WindHarp, among others. Her primary influences run the gamut from classical to jazz and include work, study and performance with master musicians of the likes of Don Cherry, West African praise singer Alhaji Bai Konte, Abdullah Ibrahim and Pauline Oliveros. Her improvisational skills and understanding of the power of music in healing led her to a career as an educator. She currently works with kids with learning disabilities.

Recently, Stratford Friends School in Philadelphia asked her to expand and further develop its music program. “When, in the year 2011,” asks Haines, “do you hear of a music program at a school expanding? I have been fortunate to live a life immersed in sound. The harp is an instrument of great beauty, and I like to play with beauty.”

The concert is free of charge and takes place at SUNY-Ulster’s Vanderlyn Hall Student Lounge. For more information call (845) 687-5262 or visit www.sunyulster.edu/campus_life/community_activities/WordsandMusicSeries/JuliaHaines.jsp or www.juliahaines.com.

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