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The Harpweaver

by Maeve Gilchrist

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The Storm 05:38
The Calm 03:47


AVAILABLE OCTOBER 9th | Pre-order your copy of the Harpweaver now!

Harpist and composer Maeve Gilchrist’s new offering The Harpweaver hones in on the idea of artistic nostalgia. When we can’t be with those that we love; surely the next best thing is to experience the catharsis of familiar sounds? Notes and words that bring a sense of connection, possibility and joy.

Originally from Scotland, Gilchrist has been making her mark as a ground-breaking harpist in the US for the last seventeen years through her collaborations with artists such as Ambrose Akinmusire, The Silkroad Project, Nic Gareiss, Viktor Krauss, Darol Anger, Solas and Okkyung Lee, but this album breaks new ground for her as she steps into her own as a composer and producer to illuminate her roots as a traditional folk musician through the prism of luscious string parts, electronic manipulation and an archived recitation of The Ballad of the Harpweaver, by the poet who became a celebrity of Jazz-Age America, Edna St Vincent Millay.

“My first impression of this poem, from the 1923 Pulitzer-award-winning collection by the American poet Edna St Vincent Millay, was not of a tale of bleak circumstance but of the power of maternal love and the symbiotic relationship between instrument and player,” writes Gilchrist. “I always loved hearing old-timers in New York referring to the 'old' and the 'new' worlds. It seems related somehow to this project which deals in the nostalgia which I feel is inherent in traditional Irish and Scottish music and reflects my gratitude to my harp. It calls to mind old music-hall melodies, memories that won't dissipate, the spell-binding recitation of a beautiful woman … In essence, this tangle of words and notes is my sonic postcard home, as I stand, like so many migrant musicians before me, on the bank of the Hudson and look East.

Maeve’s musical career began under the auspicious watch of two harpist aunts on her Irish mother’s side and was nurtured through a steady stream of visiting musicians, folk festivals and sessions in Edinburgh. In 2003 her improvisational curiosity brought her over the ocean to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, first as a student and immediately after as the first “lever” harpist to teach on faculty, which she continued to do after moving to New York to pursue new music, new textures and a diverse array of collaborators. In recent years her work as a composer, producer and arranger have allowed her access to some of the finest classical musicians that the city has to offer and allowed her allowed her to communicate in a range of musical languages.

“It’s a privilege to be able to say that I have folk music in my blood and new music in my fingers. I believe that anyone coming from a traditional music background is ‘marked for life’! This instils in me an unshakeable commitment to music as a connective device which manifests in every note through every traditional or cross-genre collaboration that I’m part of. I believe that I’ve been gifted the best of both worlds and, living in a city that’s buzzing with high-level musicianship and mutual curiosity, it allows me on my best days to act as a conduit between these musical worlds which I love so much and which I believe can be of great service to one another in the reframing, illumination and preservation of our respective musical traditions“

The Harpweaver is an invitation to suspend time and place and step into a richly imaginative world which may resonate notes of familiarity and comfort regardless of cultural background. This is neo-folk at its finest, coming from the newest generation of migrant Celtic musician to hit the streets of New York.


released October 9, 2020

Produced and arranged by Maeve Gilchrist

All compositions by Maeve Gilchrist with the exception of:

Track 2 Chris Stout's compliments to the Bon Accord Ale house | Chris Stout mcps/prs

Track 4 Poem by Charles Kingsley, published 1884

Track 9 Love’s old sweet song | James Lynam Molloy and lyricist G. Clifton Bingham. Published 1884


Kyle Sanna | acoustic and electric guitar

The Aizuri string quartet:

Emma Frucht | Violin

Miho Saegusa | Violin

Ayane Kozasa | Viola

Karen Ouzounian | Cello

Additional vocals on track 9 by Hannah Read, Tamsin Wilson, Yann Falquet and Keith Murphy

Selected lines from The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver (1923) by Edna St. Vincent Millay, courtesy of the Millay Society (millay.org)

Recorded and mixed by Eli Crews at Figure 8 Recording (Brooklyn, NY), Rivington 66 (New York, NY), and Spillway Sound (West Hurley, NY).

Sound design and additional engineering by Charlie Van Kirk

Mastered by Alan Douches, West West Side Music NY

Design by Tamsin Wilson

Maeve plays a Thormahlen Ceili harp


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Maeve Gilchrist Boston, Massachusetts

Edinburgh born harpist and composer Maeve Gilchrist has been credited as an innovator on her native Celtic Harp due to her uniquely chromatic and rhythmic approach to the instrument. Based in NYC, Maeve tours Internationally as a solo artist and music director as well as belonging to a number of projects including prog-folk quartet DuoDuo and the Grammy-winning Silkroad Ensemble. ... more

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