A Leaf from the Forest

In concert Deb and Jane lead us into the mystical forest of the Green Man.  Here we might meet Scottish harpmaker Jack Yule as he builds magical instruments from limbs of ancient trees, or the Lady of the Forest who whispers dreams into our hearts. Or , of course, we might meet the Green Man himself - he who is the  wild intelligence and life breath of the forest and all living things within it.   Come now for a glimpse of the grove ....

a harp tree ...

We have entered a deep magical forest.  Great ancient trees surround us.  Branches vault above us, forming a chapel in the dark leaf.  Moonlight spills through the branches, suffusing the many forest paths with a pale glow.

The paths criss-cross, traveling between all places and all times.  We have no idea which one we should follow.  We turn to the Keeper of the forest chapel, the Green Man.  Maybe he'll show us which one to take.

With his staff he gestures to a group of paths.  In a language that whispers like leaves he lets us know that any path we take will lead to magic.  We choose one.  With a respectful nod to the Green Man we leave his forest hall and follow that path out of the woods to a village.  Cottages lie before us, and a hill.  But the forest encompasses everything, stretching in all directions, to the horizons.

At the edge of the village is a cottage with a lighted window. Inside a woman sings to her baby, as the baby's grandmother stirs the fire on the hearth.  The sound of the mother's voice drifts out to us, and into the village, and the forest.Deb and Jane in the forest


The patter of drums!

The shaking of bells!

Down the road a procession of dancers weaves through the village.  The ribbons of their costumes flutter like bright birds, the antlers of their garlands gleam in the moonlight ...

a review of the premiere performance of "Forest".

Harp Digest
Thursday, 23 Nov 95
Volume 05 : Issue 314

Into The Forest: deeper and more green

by Adam Victor Christensen

Jane Valencia and Deb Knodel presented themselves in concert last Sunday evening at the Palo Alto Unitarian Church. Celebrating the theme of Autumn and Winter, Jane and Deb transformed the church into an imaginary forest with plants and trees and beautiful drawings and paintings of forest life, including pictures of Scottish harpbuilder Jack Yule's stone house, Carnethy Cottage. Using poetry and harp music, they led us into the mythical forest where a ceilidh was being held in honor of the Green Man, and they toasted him with song, poetry and their beautiful Celtic harps of several sizes and shapes. They were joined by the "Secret Celtic Choir" which did a wonderful job on Jane's Welsh Cradle Song  "Dinogat's Cloak" and on the closing piece of "mouth music" Hin Hin Haradala.

Heartened by the appreciative audience, Jane and Deb are planning a Spring and Summer show and we all look forward to these pageants of harp, myth, poetry and song. The music of the Celtic harps seem to be in a more complete setting with this inclusion of art and storytelling as part of the presentation. There was even Irish step dancing by a young dancer who was as sprightly as a fairy dancing as they played on their harps.

It was a beautiful evening and we look forward to more in the Spring!

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