Matt Schwarz | The Journeyman Harper

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Deborah Friou Laurie Riley Patrick Ball

Album Links
Matt\'s Sleepy Hollow group and solo website

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United States - Colorado

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Folk: Irish Traditional Classical: Early Music Moods: Solo Instrumental
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The Journeyman Harper

by Matt Schwarz

Solo harp - medieval, renaissance, Irish, and Swedish folk music.
Genre: Folk: Irish Traditional
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Morgan Meaghan
4:11 $0.99
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2. Bransle
2:17 $0.99
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3. Branle Gay
2:48 $0.99
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4. Sollero Langdans
2:33 $0.99
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5. Smash The Windows
2:23 $0.99
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6. Return From Fingall
2:27 $0.99
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7. Kringellek fran Gagnef
1:57 $0.99
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8. Bianco Fiore
2:20 $0.99
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9. Lamento di Tristano / La Rotta
3:44 $0.99
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10. Harvest Home
2:27 $0.99
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11. Tanz
2:21 $0.99
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12. Estampie
2:54 $0.99
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13. Brian Boru's March
5:55 $0.99
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14. Ex Semine
1:56 $0.99
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15. Var Det Du
2:23 $0.99
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16. Fairy Dance
1:33 $0.99
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17. Parson's Farewell
2:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"The Journeyman Harper" contains 17 solo harp tracks from Matt's Renaissance Faire repertoire. About a third of the pieces are Irish folk melodies evocative of a rich harp tradition. There are also a few Swedish traditional melodies, lively and haunting. Complimenting these are ancient-sounding medieval pieces and elegant Renaissance dances.

Matt Schwarz has been playing music since 1990, trying his hand at guitar, piano, flute, and cello and ranging from classical to folk to heavy metal. He helped form the eclectic rock group Sleepy Hollow in 1999 and has been performing and recording music ever since.

He’d been interested in the harp for years, inspired by a love for Irish traditional music, and finally acquired a 3-octave lap harp at the 2001 Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, PA. About a month after laying hands on it, Matt used it to record the medieval-inspired original composition “Broken Wings” for Sleepy Hollow‘s (otherwise hard-rocking) “Goin’ Over” album. However, other musical commitments didn’t allow him to delve much into harp-playing for a while, although he used it on the song “Little Katie” for his 2003 solo acoustic-folk album “The Lost Way”, around the same time lineup difficulties with Sleepy Hollow caused Matt to begin performing acoustic gigs - solo, with a stripped down Sleepy Hollow, and with the group Sacred Fool. Matt began working more with the harp at this time, as well as working in more of the traditional music he loved.

This change in direction led Matt to renaissance faires, where he could play the kind of music he loved to a receptive audience. He began practicing the harp in earnest over the winter of ‘03-’04, working up a repertoire of traditional, renaissance , and medieval pieces on harp, as well as guitar and flute. Beginning with the 2004 NJ Renaissance Kingdom, Matt worked up a circuit of about a dozen festivals - journeying as far as Virginia and Maine, and being asked back to many festivals on subsequent years. Matt acquired a 5-octave harp (as well as adding mandola, Irish flute, and recorder to his repertoire). Matt’s focus on the harp was energetic medieval dances, traditional narrative ballads, elegant renaissance compositions, and lively Irish dance tunes. He also performed as a “wandering minstrel” with renaissance guitar, accompanied dancers on recorder and flute, and played various instruments (mostly guitar) with the renaissance/Gypsy/Irish instrumental group Sarabande.

Relocating to Colorado at the end of 2007, and being accepted as harpist at the 2008 Colorado Renaissance Festival, Matt finally was able to focus almost exclusively on the harp. Matthew Rose of the early music ensemble Castle Musicale offered to record Matt at his studio, and performing 11 hrs. a weekend at the CORF got Matt in good shape to do so! The Journeyman Harper is the result of this - kept to solo harp with no overdubs to reflect the simplicity of Matt’s live performance (although Matt plans to record some harp and vocal music in the future to reflect the other half of his performances). The album reflects Matt’s various styles - traditional music from Ireland and Sweden and medieval and renaissance pieces from around Europe - evoking an earlier and more romantic time.

Matt is currently collaborating with Castle Musicale on a medieval Christmas album, as well as nearing completion on a double-album from Sleepy Hollow. Matt’s solo recordings, as well as his group work with Sleepy Hollow and Sarabande, are available through cdbaby.com.

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Reviews


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RKingman

Journeyman Harper
I picked up Journeyman Harper from CDBaby a few weeks ago, and it's been on rotation in my car..it's really well-arranged (the song order, etc), and I can only imagine what skill it takes to play intricate songs like that on the harp. My personal favorite top three tracks, in order, are: #4 (Sollero Langdans), #7 (Kringellek fran Gagnef), and #17 (Parson's Farewell)...lovely, delicate melodies that ease and expand your thinking.I have an hour commute every day, so I've had plenty of time to listen to it...and, with snow this past week, it's made the commute more of a transportative, fairyland experience...very calming, rather than stressful.
Anyway, lovely stuff, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone ((it makes great "art-music" while working on projects, too!))
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Sarah Amidon

Journeyman Harper
This is a fantastic, soothing sound! I liked the mix of lively and restful and found the style to be interesting and unique. Positively great for listening or classy background.
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