Monika Stadler is accomplished harpist, on both the pedal harp and the Celtic/lever harp. New Shoots – Old Roots is her contribution to the repertoire of both instruments; with the idea of ‘building bridges’ between traditional playing, Irish harping, jazz and world music.
This brilliant collection of mostly originals accomplishes this and more. Among the selections are a tune written for the outdoor wedding of Stadler’s sister, as well as a number of tunes inspired by various European festivals. Dance of the Sandpiper has a separate arrangement for pedal harp, all the other selections can be played on either instrument.
The tunes feature harmonics, rolled chords, pres de la table, grace notes and lever slides. Lever changes are clearly marked and many helpful fingerings are included. There are no chord symbols. Some tunes have syncopated rhythms, one has several meter changes, and another is in 5/4 time. In addition to the syncopated rhythms, Monika’s Blues is to be played with a swing feel and has rhythmic muffles and lever slides. Also introduced is the ‘lever kick,’ a way of note bending, very fun and unique!
Any of these selections can be used as concert/recital material and several are also appropriate as a wedding prelude, in church or as background music! This collection raises the bar for lever harp material, ideal and challenging for intermediate to advanced players. I will probably never leave home without it!
Review written by Denise Grupp-Verbon/FOLK HARP JOURNAL FALL 2010