CD A0114: Soirbheas

Sarah Deere-Jones

Album Soirbheas by Sarah Deere-JonesSoirbheas pronounced 'Surra-Vis' - the Gaelic word for Fairwind. Traditional and original Celtic harp pieces along with the magical sound of the Aeolian harp, recorded at various ancient sites throughout Celtic Britain and Ireland. Sarah Deere-Jones, one of England's finest Celtic harp players, has blended these two instruments, with her own improvisations and the sounds of nature. 'Absolutely magnificent' - John Shaw

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Sarah Deere-Jones profile page with index of recordings and compositions

Audio Samples & Track Listing

1-3 St Govan's Bell (Wales)
4-7 Mists of the Skelligs (Ireland)
8-11 Hebridean Dreams (Scotland)
12-14 Kernow Summer Storm (Cornwall)
15 Whispers (wind turbine and celtic harp)
Total Time

Watch on YouTube

'Whispers' from Siorbheas (Fairwind) 2006 performed by Sarah Deere-Jones

CD Notes & Credits


St Govan's Bell (Wales)
St Govan's head in Pembrokeshire Wales, is a spectacular location. St Govan is said to have created a hermitage here in the 6th century and the remains of the chapel and holy well are still there. Legend has it that the bell from the chapel was stolen by pirates and that angels brought it back to St Govan encased in stone. The Aeolian recording was made right at the bottom of the cliffs in June 2005 on a wonderfully calm day, indeed you can hear choughs and gulls on the cliffs behind during the Celtic harp improvisation called 'Sea Spell'. This goes into the sound of a chiming bell and Sarahs jig for harp 'St Govan's Bell'. This in turn leads to the sound of rolling waves and a beautiful traditional welsh song Ar Lan Y Mor, 'On the Sea Shore'

Mists of the Skelligs (Ireland)
Skellig Michael is a dramatic steep sided island off the west coast of Ireland and was an ancient monastic site. Aeolian sounds recorded on the nearby shore at Kilrelig with a brisk wind blowing directly from the Skelligs in September 2005 lead into the improvisation on wire-strung harp 'lost souls' which focuses on the sad history of the area with the remains of a famine village as well as a 2nd world war memorial dedicated to 11 lost American airmen.' The Hurlers' is an ancient irish harp tune and 'Bunavalla' a jig by Sarah, and they lead into the lovely 'Derreen Day' a traditional Irish Lullaby.

Hebridean Dreams (Scotland)
Recorded in September 2004 the Aeolian sounds introduce the traditional reel 'sound of sleat' which is the name of the channel of water overlooked from the village of Kylerhea on the south East corner of the Isle of Skye. The piece for harp and Scottish smallpipes 'Tigh a Rudha' is dedicated to a tiny croft on the edge of the promontory in the village and leads into 'the Sheilings' a reel for harp also by Sarah. Finally the track ends with the beautiful Uist cradle song which is entwined with a hebridean psalm tune called the 'Bays of Harris'.

Kernow Summer Storm (Cornwall)
Being at the far south west of the UK Cornwall is lashed by the storms coming from the Atlantic and even in the summer these can be dramatic! A rumble of thunder with aeolian sounds recorded in August 2005 introduces the majestic 'Padstow May Day song' on harp before the thundery rain leads into the traditional dance tune 'Porthlystry'. Finally Sarahs popular 'Cornish Lullaby' ends the track.

Whispers (wind turbine and celtic harp)
The hypnotic beat of a wind turbine combined wirth the wind generated aeolian harp sounds recorded in the same summer breeze in 2005 inspired the initial improvisation and the piece 'whispers' a musical reflection on the diverse power of the wind, for turbine and harp!


Sarah Deere-Jones - Celtic harp/wire-strung harp, and voice
Phil Williams - Uilleann and Scottish smallpipes, cittern and guitar.

Thanks must go to my husband Phil Williams, who has his own life to lead but nevertheless spent hours in patient recording in the wind and rain spanning 20 years, and yet more hours editing at the computer, not to mention his boundless enthusiasm, musical accompaniament, ideas and encouragement all the way! Tim Deere-Jones for location help in Wales, Merv Collins Bell-ringer, Margot and Alasdair MacInnes in Kylerhea for teaching us the 'Bays of Harris'. Robert Archer and Robert Falkenburg for their inspiring fascination and experiments with Aeolian harps, and my musical hero ALAN STIVELL, for years of wonderful music and unwitting guidance towards my own musical aspirations.

Album Information

Title: Soirbheas
Artist: Sarah Deere-Jones
Instruments: Celtic Harp & Aeolian Harp
Genre: Traditional/Original Celtic
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0114
Label: Cornwall Harp Centre
Year: 2006
Origin: UK