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Holiday Harp Concert at Irish Heritage Center Showcases Unique, Traditional Instruments

Milwaukee's Irish Cultural and Heritage Center is hosting internationally acclaimed harpist Kim Robertson for its Holiday Harp concert. The Wisconsin native is joined on stage by a number of local musical friends, including mutli-instrumentalist Brett Lipshutz.

Lipshutz is a member of Myserk, a band which focuses on the Celtic tradition in Brittany, and he showcased his whistle playing in a performance with Robertson for Lake Effect

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"Do You Love An Apple," recorded in the Lake Effect Performance Studio.

While the whistle and the harp are part of the grand tradition of Irish music, both Robertson and Lipschutz feel these instruments tend to be under represented. 

Robertson says of the harp, "It's always been a fringe instrument and I would say still is. A lot of the festivals the harps are over near the port-o-potties, between the dumpsters and the hot dog stand... To be fair, I mean, I don't take insult with it because it's a more quiet instrument. It's not something you're going to put at a main stage." 

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"Slip Jigs," played in the Lake Effect Performance Studio.

Although the whistle is more commonly found in current, traditional Irish groups, Lipschutz believes the lower, more melodious whistles have been favored over their higher, shriller counterparts - like the small, D whistle. He says the pairing of this small whistle with the harp is a great way to experience both instruments in a way that showcases their unique timbres. 

"The whistle and the harp combination allows for each instrument to be transparent and heard at the same time, and neither one covers the other," he says. 

Celtic harpist Kim Robertson and mutli-instrumentalist Brett Lipshutz will be part of the Holiday Harp concert at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center in Milwaukee this Saturday.

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"Loftus Jones," played in the Lake Effect Performance Studio.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.