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March 21, 2008
(Filmed in October 2,000)
NOTES: from Filming in Ireland, http://www.maireid.com
Early on Wednesday morning we went to visit Grainne Yeats and her husband, Michael, at their home in Dalkey. Grainne has had an illustrious musical career, both as a singer and as one of Ireland's leading harpists and exponents of music for the instrument. Grainne is a truly brilliant and elegant woman. Her silver hair softly frames her face. Her blue cashmere sweater brought out the blue in her eyes. At age 75, she is stunning looking.
When we were ready to film, she demonstrated the extraordinarily resonant sound of her wire-strung harp, while giving us a little history lesson on the role it's played in Irish culture. She would rather not sing for us, she said, because she hadn't sung for months. But she did recite an Irish poem, and afterward explained it. She talked to us about her experiences as a touring and recording artist and about her family: her parent's extraordinary work during the lead up to and the establishment of the Irish Free State, and her children's remarkable careers.
She described the ongoing reinstatement and then the renaissance of Irish culture and explained how, from the early 1,950s, she worked in tandem with two very close friends on the restoration of music for the harp in Ireland. We also filmed her in the garden with her husband, Michael (the son of W.B. Yeats), before we reluctantly took our leave. I telephoned her the next day to thank her for her gracious hospitality and she told me that after we had gone her voice came back to her. I know that is a very good sign! I wish so much that I had been there to hear her beautiful soaring voice again.