Photo: Brenda Malloy

Simon Chadwick is a musician, researcher and educator, specialising in the old Irish harp traditions. He researches and studies the design and setup of old harps, the lives and works of old harpers, and the tunes and playing techniques that they used.

Simon’s work started when he made a harp with wire strings. He learned to play it by working through Ann Heymann’s books, but at every stage he asked himself difficult questions about his instrument, its stringing and setup, the tunes, the style, the playing techniques, the contexts, the cultural background… He applied his formal training in archaeology and physics to try and answer these questions, often spending more time on research than on playing, and usually generating more new questions than answers.

From the very beginning of his studies, Simon was asked to teach the old wire-strung harp. He worked with piper Barnaby Brown on developing pioneering online video lessons and website publishing over 20 years ago, and he collaborated with Siobhán Armstrong to help create a thriving scene of playing wire-strung harps in Ireland. Originally from the south of England, Simon relocated to Scotland where he became involved with the Scottish traditional music scene in Dundee, working with Sheena Wellington to organise events and classes there. Since 2018 Simon has been living in Armagh in Northern Ireland.

Simon’s other musical love is change ringing on tower bells. He learned the art from his mother when he was a young boy; now he is Northern District Ringing Master in the Irish Association of Change Ringers.

Photo: Brenda Malloy