Holiday SPAM: Happy New Year, from a Harper for Harmony

Happy New Year, Feliz Navidad

Maybe once a year I can get away with what I'm doing now, "holiday spam" to A LOT OF RECIPIENTS from my contacts list. This is to invite many who do not know much about Latin American harp music. Some but not all of you know me as a "harper for harmony." My longstanding devotion has been to Harping for Harmony Foundationand my newest initiative is the Baqueanos program to promote traditional live, acoustic Latin American harp music.

Here's the line-up for 2018:

Baqueanos has its roots in efforts over many years sponsoring performances by traditional Latin American harpists in the US. In 2017, I organized a tour in DC, VA, WV and PA with Colombian master harpist Hildo Ariel Aguirre Daza. Hildo Ariel called me his baqueano, thereby giving a name to this program offering logistic support to Latin American harpists wishing to perform in North America. In the plains of Venezuela and Colombia, a baqueano(guide) is a friendly person familiar with the local territory and its people. Hildo Ariel was my baqueano in 2014 when I spent 3 weeks with him in Bogotá, at his music school, Academia Llano y Joropo. 

In order to build and grow a North American audience for traditional Latin American harp music, I want to be a baqueano for others from the Latin harp traditions. Here is a list of some qualified harpists that I know and admire.

Three aspects of the Baqueanos program are:

  1. Logistic and material support for qualified Latin American harpists wishing to perform in North America;
  2. Assistance to groups and individuals who will sponsor Latin American harp events in North America; and
  3. Live promotional programs, no fee required! By harper for harmony John Lozier; these events are a mix of live performance and presentation of audio-visual resources, designed to display the appeal and diversity of Latin American harp traditions.

If interested, you can "reply" directly to! Or, you can "subscribe" to receive occasional newsletters (fewer than once a month). Of course I'd like you to "donate" to support the Baqueanos and other programs of Harping for Harmony Foundation. (Or you can just delete this message.)

By far the best outcome for me would an invitation to deliver a program and/or an offer to volunteer your collaboration in sponsoring an actual live presentation by a qualified Latin American harpist.

Thank you for reading..

Peace on Earth

Harmony and Community, Locally and Globally, through Harp Music.

Happy and Prosperous New Year 2018

- John Lozier

The Baquiano Program - DRAFT 12/7/17

Through the Baquiano Program, Harping for Harmony Foundation (HHF) and collaborators offer sponsorship and support for traditional Latin American harpists touring and performing in the United States. Well-qualified performers can apply for services including logistics and scheduling of events; accommodations and hospitality; and also for a limited amount of financial support.

The name of the program was suggested by Colombian harpist Hildo Ariel during a US tour in July, 2017, sponsored by HHF. He called me his baquiano. In the plains of Venezuela and Colombia, a baquiano is an experienced local person or guide. When a stranger turns up, a baquiano can always be helpful and hospitable. Or not!! In reality, the extent of such hospitality depends upon discovering a common purpose, and developing rapport.

Hildo Ariel was my baquiano in Bogota in 2014, where I was his guest and studentat his highly regarded music school, Academia Llano y Joropo.

In brief, the new HHF program is to provide a baquiano for visiting harpists in the US. This is to return favors I've received from Hildo Ariel and other baquianos I have met over more than 25 years of travel in Venezuela and Colombia.

Applicants are to be well-qualified performers, either established professionals or new and aspiring young musicians. The purpose of the program is to develop a US audience for this music. Events may include public concert performances, school presentations, workshops, restaurant entertainment, etc. Events may be ticketed (with admission fee) or free to the public with revenue mainly from donations and sale of recordings.

US tours will be scheduled three times a year, in Spring, Summer and Autumn. Initially, the program will focus on tours in the vicinity of Morgantown, West Virginia, and adjacent states of Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. With growth of the program, tours may be more frequent and may reach any part of the United States.


Harping for Harmony on a Roll, Heading into 2018

Hello, Friends, Happy Holidays,

At Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for your support and encouragement over the course of many years. It has been a while since I wrote. I will respond personally if you reply ( I appreciate your feedback and I humbly ask for your financial support.

Harping for Harmony Foundation (HHF) has made some giant steps in 2017, with big plans for 2018 and beyond. As always, the mission is harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music. My personal devotion, since 1995, has been presenting Latin American harp music to new audiences. 

In March, 2018, a Harping for Harmony tour with Paraguayan harpist Nicolas Carter will reach VA, WV, PA and MD. Nicolas is very well known in the harp world; he performs widely in the US and abroad. Yet this astonishing talent and these remarkable traditions are virtually unknown to the general public. I want to change that situation!

In 2017, HHF sponsored a short appearance with Nicolas Carter, and more extensive tours with Colombian Hildo Ariel and Venezuelan Angel Tolosa. We have presented these and many other remarkable talents, over the years. To improve their visibility in the US, I'm working on a list of artist profiles.

Please help with a donation

More background...

This year I've been seriously working to develop the potential of Harping for Harmony Foundation (HHF). Established in 1995, the organization has been relatively inactivefor several years. This has changed in 2017. Our founding documents are now posted on our website. There is independent verification showing slow activity in recent years. 

In 2014, I spent three weeks in Bogota, Colombia, studying with master harpist HIldo Ariel Aguirre, founder of Academia Llano y Joropo. Then in 2015, I hosted Hildo's son, Sergio Nicolas, a remarkable young harpist who has beencelebrated in Paris this year.

Three times a year since 2014, HHF has sponsored events with a number of other harpists, links are shown on the sidebar at This is a collaboration with harpmaker John Kovac of Front Royal, VA, and others.

Bottom line, we raised just under $6000 in 2017, all from donations and tips at our events. We have $2500 on hand, but that won't be enough for our plans for 2018 and beyond. We have not been supported by grants. Your donation now will boost our year-end numbers, so that we can offer matching when applying for grants in the future.

It is all about

Presenting Latin American Harp Music
to New Audiences

Thank you for reading, and for your support and encouragement. Peace!!

John Lozier, Executive Director

Copyright © 2017 Harping for Harmony Foundation, All rights reserved. 

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Charleston, West Virginia, with Hildo Ariel

Charleston, WV. Wednesday July 12, 2017.

All afternoon, Hildo Ariel played in the center court at the Charleston Town Center Mall. Many folks walked on by, but others stayed listening at the tables and benches near the Starbucks., I think it is safe to say that folks were certainly not expecting to hear harp music from South America. The mall management made it super-easy to be there, thanks to Lisa McCracken and a very helpful technician named Charlie. Lisa gave us an open invitation, and a generous gift card for use with the mall merchants.

We were surprised at lunch when the Chinese food vender, a young Chinese man, spoke with us in perfect Spanish! We learned that he had been born in China but raised in Venezuela from an early age. When I was in Venezuela, I noticed a lot of Chinese in business, even far out in the countryside. Those were the years of Hugo Chavez, whose international outreach brought Venezuela closer to China. Hildo Ariel, as a native Colombian, was able to say that the young man's accent was clearly Venezuelan and not Colombian.

The evening program was at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston (UUCC). The program was well received although attendance was very light. Our contact at UUCC was Paul Dalzell, and he broadcast parts of the program live on Facebook.

This morning, 7/13, we will move on to Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Pajarillo Barranqueño

Pajarillo, Pajarillo, Pajarillo Barranqueño
que bonitos ojos tienes, lastima que tengan dueño

Que pajarillo es aquel que canta en aquella lima
anda y dile que no cante, que mi corazon lastima

Que pajarillo es aquel que canta en aquella higuera
Anda y dile que no cante que espere hasta que me muera

Que pajarillo es aquel que canta en aquella palma
Anda u dile que no cante qu me esta partiendo el alma

Toma esta cajita de oro, mira lo que lleva dentro
Lleva amores, lleva celos y un poco de sentimiento

Toma esta llavita de oro, abre mi pecho y verás
Lo mucho que te quiero y el mal pago que me das

Ya con ésta me despido, pajarillo barranqueño
Ya no cantes pajarillo, que ese amor ya tiene dueño

Little Bird, Little Bird, Little riverside bird
What pretty eyes you have, too bad they belong to another

What little bird is that, who sings in that lime tree
go and tell him not to sing, it hurts my heart

What little bird is that, who sings in that fig tree
Go and tell him not to sing, to wait until I die

What little bird is that, who sings in that palm tree
Go and tell him not to sing, it is breaking my soul

Take this gold box, look what is inside
Carries loves, carries jealousy and a little bit of sentiment

Take this golden key, open my chest and see
How much I love you, and how badly you repay me

And with this I say goodbye,  pajarillo barranqueño
Sing no longer little bird, my love has another owner

Bertin y Lalo ....


Tish Hinojosa ...

Introducing Juan Lucero

Hola (Hello) !  

Yo soy Juan Lucero (I am John Lozier)

Mi amigo Venezolano, el arpista Fernando Guerrero me ha puesto el apodo (nickname) Lucero, o Lucerito (star), porque suena algo como mi apellido, Lozier. Lucero es una palabra que se encuentra con frecuencia entre las letras de los canciones romanticos, muchas veces refiriendo a los ojos. 

My Venezuelan friend, the harpist Fernando Guerrero, has given me the nickname "Lucero," or "Lucerito" (little star), because it sounds rather like my last name. Lucero is a word that is often found the lyrics of romantic songs, frequently referring to beautiful eyes.

Mi intento aqui (My intention here)...

  • es ponerme el nombre Juan Lucero o Lucerito cuando escribo en español, o en forma bilingue.
  • (is to call myself Juan Lucero or Lucerito when I write in Spanish, or in bilingual form.)
  • Otherwise, in English only, I am John

(Here's a link to Lucerito de mi Llano, written by Augusto Bracca and sung by the legendary Eneas Perdomo. Spanish lyrics are in the description.)

- Lucerito

Viaje a Mani

I have been visiting my friends John and Judy Kovac, he is a harp nut like me.

Among other things I've been recording myself for posting online. One of my efforts is Viaje a Mani, originally sung by the great Francisco Montoya. The song tell of a trip by airplane from Venezuela to the Colombian town of Mani, famous for musica llanera.

Here's a Youtube link to the original by Francisco Montoya:

I'll post my own brave effort shortly.

Arpa Central (or Mirandina, or Tuyera) and other links...

Victor Morales performing in "central" style, but on arpa llanera:

Again, Victor Morales:

Here is a link to my teacher Jose Gregorio (Goyo) Lopez (I've posted this before):

And the same Goyo Lopez demonstrating an intermediate exercise (my own field videorecording):\

Spanish Language Instructional Enrichment Program

Spanish Language Instructional Enrichment Program:
Live Latin American Style Harp Music and Conversational Spanish

I have begun offering a Spanish language instructional enrichment program, featuring live Latin American style harp music and conversational Spanish for middle and high school Spanish classes. Latin harp style is my special devotion; I speak very good Spanish; I read books in Spanish for fun, and I travel in Latin America every year. A retired cultural anthropologist, I have worked under contract with the WV Department of Education for more than 10 years. Specifically, my work in K-12e ducation has been with Learn and Serve projects and with after-school programs (21st Century Learning Centers).

Many people do not realize that the harp is very popular in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Mexico. My program provides a mix of live harp music in the Latin styles; questions and answers in Spanish; audio and video materials and other cultural information. Learning objectives include motivating the study of other cultures as well as the learning of the Spanish language. The program includes presentation of folk songs with transcriptions and translations, a tool for building vocabulary.

Please explore this website for more information. Harping for Harmony Foundation is dedicated to promoting "harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music." Since 1995, projects have touched on topics of peace, childhood, livelihood, health, and democracy.

In the course of a typical school day, the program can be delivered to 5 or 6 classes, to 150 students or more. A daily fee of $400 is requested, negotiable, and may be waived. Travel may be extra.

I invite Spanish teachers, school administrators, and advocates for education are invited to contact John Lozier for more information.

John Lozier

Press Release - Harp Concert May 21 Promotes Music and Healing

    Morgantown, WV, May 5, 2010. Local harpists will offer a concert at 7:30 PM on Friday, May 21, 2010, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Morgantown. Featured local performers are Christine Mazza and Howard Emerson. John Lozier will demonstrate the Venezuelan arpa llanera and briefly discuss his visit there last year. Also performing will be Mazza's Morgantown Harp Ensemble and the Almost Heaven Harp Circle coordinated by Cindy Lewellen.
    Tickets are $10 for adults, two for $15, and free for children under 12. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Send order to HHF, 345 Virginia Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26505. You also may call 304-599-8233 or 304-276-5141 or email

    Christine Mazza teaches harp at WVU. She performs regularly with opera, ballet and symphony groups in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and also in schools and hospitals through the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and the Arts in Education Program.

    Howard Emerson is a Certified Music Practitioner in the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP), and has served on the staff at Ruby Hospital since 2002.

    John Lozier is Executive Director of Harping for Harmony Foundation, established in 1995. Sponsored by the WV Department of Education, he has visited many schools where he offers music from many lands, and particularly from Latin America.

    This year's concert call special attention to the comforting and therapeutic benefits of harp music, and will benefit programs of Harping for Harmony Foundation. Local activities include helping to fund MHTP training for local harpists, and sponsoring the Almost Heaven Harp Circle, under the direction of Cindy Lewellen. The harp circle meets on the third Thursday of each month at the Church of the Brethren, 464 Virginia Avenue. The group consists of musicians of all ages and skill levels, and newcomers are always welcome.

    The mission of Harping for Harmony Foundation is to promote harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music. In 2000, the foundation began offering Millennium Harper Awards to recognize individual harpists around the world who have completed a "worthy quest" involving live performance, local public service, and personal growth. Through this program, HHF has given away more than 40 small harps. Financial and other support has been provided to harpists and harpmakers in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, Northern Ireland, Haiti, Russia, Mexico and Cyprus.

More information: John Lozier, 304 276 5141

March 20, 2010, Irish Spring Festival, Ireland, WV

Believe it or not, IRELAND is but A DAY'S DRIVE from half the population of the United States!!  I am referring to Ireland, WEST VIRGINIA, a tiny Lewis County village almost exactly at the center of the (almost heaven) the mountain state.

On Saturday, March 20, 2010, harpists from near and far will gather here. Local folks have celebrated their Irish Spring Festival since 1982. I first brought my own harp here in 1994. Soon after, I formed Harping for Harmony Foundation (HHF), and our local harpers (and some illustrious outsiders) have faithfully attended the Irish Spring Festival ever since. (Sue Richards came in 1995, shown in photo here.) The free program offers beginning and intermediate harp workshops, and a free concert for the general public.

This year, I will teach some Venezuelan techniques at the intermediate workshop, and Ruth Heavener will teach beginners. The schedule for Saturday, March 20 is as follows:

  • 10 AM             Intermediate workshop - Venezuelan harp techniques with John Lozier
  • 11:30 - 1:30   More harping, and/or enjoy other festival events
  • 1:30 PM          Concert rehearsal (all harpists present who wish to perform)
  • 2:30               Concert
  • 3:30               Beginner workshop - with Ruth Heavener

All events are at Ireland United Methodist Church. Please come as you are. Extra harps will be available for beginners. No charge for any events, no advance registration is required.

This annual event is sponsored jointly by the Shamrock Extension Homemakers' Club, Harping for Harmony Foundation, and the Almost Heaven Harp Circle. For more information, contact John Lozier (304 276 5141) or check the following links:

ARPATUR 2009 Summary Report

ARPATUR, a mission of Harping for Harmony Foundation in Venezuela

I spent the month of November, 2009, in rural Venezuela, chiefly in the region known as the llanos, in the states of Apure, Barinas, and Portuguesa. This was my fifth sojourn in the region; we have come to call these trips ARPATUR (harp tour). Over several seasons, ARPATUR has helped to draw attention and prestige to the strong traditional music of harp, cuatro and maracas.

During the first week, I traveled with four companions, visiting traditional musicians in towns and villages, and on farms. The party consisted of Adolfo Cardozo, singer and professor of agriculture; Fernando Guerrero, lawyer and pedal harpist from Caracas; Adolfo's wife Erika Escobar; and my brother Dan. See details of "La Baecera Initiative" below.

After the first week, I settled in Barinas and studied intensively with harpist Jose Gregorio Lopez, better known as "Goyo." I also attended harp classes at the Casa de la Cultura. Also, on several occasions I visited Caney del Arpa in Guanare, where harpist Aurelio Rodriguez (better known as "Longo") performs with other musicians in a longstanding circle of friends.

La Baecera Initiative

The focal point of ARPATUR 2009 was on the first Saturday night at La Baecera, a rural settlement of scattered ranches near Elorza. Adolfo and Erika had taken me each year to spend a couple of days to her family farm, El Coromoto. On this occasion about 50 friends, neighbors and relatives had gathered to celebrate the inauguration of a folk arts school, called the Semillero de Arpa y Joropo de La Baecera "Tio Esteban y Juana Romero" (workshop for harp and dance at La Baecera honoring Uncle Stephen and Juana Romero). At this stage, the school is not a physical place but rather a meetingplace of minds interested in cultural preservation. At the celebration, a harp, a cuatro and a pair of maracas were presented to the new school.

The turnout was very satisfying to Adolfo and Erika, who proclaimed the event a resounding success.

Tio Esteban was a harpist, a neighbor and relative, who played for dances a generation ago. Juana Romero, also a neighbor, was a beloved dancer and teacher. Tio Esteban and Juana Romero are both remembered in the lyrics of a song recorded by popular singer Alfredo Parra.

El Tuco, the local harpist at the celebration, learned to play from Tio Esteban. Tuco will be the first  harp teacher in the new school. According to Fernando, Tuco's style of harping is very authentic, simple, and typical. A landless leatherworker, now in his 50's, Tuco cultivates a garden with a wife and daughter. Tuco's harp has been in disrepair for some time, so he can only play when another harp is available. His harp was sent for repair, and another harp left with him for his use. Recently, Adolfo reports that Tuco and his wife and daughter all play the harp on a daily basis.

Barinas Harp School and Private Study

At the government-sponsored Casa de la Cultura in Barinas, various classes are offered for children and adults, including harp as well as guitar, dance, puppetry, painting and more. I was readily accepted at the Oswaldo Zapata's harp classes which are offered two days a week for 2 hours. I was also referred to Jose Gregorio Lopez as a private harp instructor. Given my limited time, I resolved to take advantage of both opportunities.

I attended about 6 harp classes. These classes attracted as many as a dozen participants, mostly male children and adolescents, but also including two females who appeared on one or more occasions.

In Zapata's classes, I saw a great enthusiasm for the harp from these young people. Most of them were technically advanced well beyond my level. Classes were held in a small patio, with everyone playing at once. It was difficult to hear oneself over the din. The teacher went from one student to another, observing technique and making suggestions. In this situation, I did not command much attention from the teacher. As days passed, I got a bit more attention from Zapata as I began to display what I was learning from Goyo Lopez. I was never asked to pay for these classes. Quite properly, Zapata dedicated his attention to his young students and not to me, an outsider who would likely never amount to much. I later discovered that Zapata himself was a student of Goyo Lopez.

Concurrently with Zapata's classes, I studied privately with Jose Gregorio "Goyo" Lopez, who turned out to be an excellent teacher and generous spirit. In the days ahead I had a lesson almost every day, and twice on some days. Goyo also encouraged me to make video recordings.

My experience with Goyo Lopez was much more productive in personal terms. However, Zapata's harp class at Casa de la Cultura deserves a great deal of credit for sustaining the cultural tradition.

Harping for Harmony Foundation Involvement

Harping for Harmony Foundation invested $5552 in ARPATUR 2009. $1000 was earmarked by the board specifically toward the purchase of a computer for Adolfo. Airfare was $1252. The balance of $3300 is shown in the accounts as per diem for 33 days at $100/day.

Actual per diem costs were lower, offset in many instances by private hospitality (room and board). Funds  thus saved were in turn used to offer reciprocity including meals, supplies, remunerations and donations of various sorts. Harpist Tuco received $50 for lessons he gave me; Goyo Lopeze received $300; Tuco's harp was sent for repair at a cost of $200; the La Baecera folk school initiative received $300.

I give much credit to the harp class at Casa de la Cultura, but did not offer any financial support as it is a governmentally funded institution.

Last Day in Barinas, Venezuela

Harp here is nothing strange, so many fine harpists! I´ll post some video
in days and weeks ahead.

Living here evokes a sense of how things might have been in Scotland or
Ireland, in earlier times. This country is divided by class. The slick
Sunday papers are all about style, conspicuous consumption, with countless
ads for plastic surgery to enhance feminine ideal beauty. On the other
hand there is a vaste class of workers and the under-employed, ranging from merchant and service enterprises down to day laborers and beggars (limosneros).

People here are somewhat distrustful, but also courteous and
generous, they do not ignore the beggars.

In this setting, it is instructive to read Romulo Gallegos, who wrote
about this land almost 100 years ago. More on this maybe later.

For two weeks I have been playing my harp in the Plaza Bolivar, early
morning and throughout the day. Folks sometimes talk to me. Some are
highly educated, like to share their views with me. Others are the simple
street people. Their question is most often "How much does a harp like
that cost?" Sometimes I answer, but more often I avoid the question.

Bottom line, the harp is expensive. For the poor, learning to play the
harp well is an avenue to social advancement. For the well-off, the harp
is likely to be regarded as a hobby, more a risk than an enhancement of
social status.

With mixed feelings, I´m leaving Barinas in a couple of hours, will be
back in the US tomorrow.

Regards from Venezuela.

My Harp Teacher in Barinas - Jose Gregorio Lopez

Goyo Lopez has been giving me instruction once or twice a day since last
week, and I´m so glad. He is very patient, very precise, does not let any
mistake go uncorrected. This is so important when the rhythm is so
intricate and particular.

I´m working mostly on Seis por Derecho, a very universal form based on a
certain rhythmic and harmonic repetition of chords 5 5 1 4. There are
numerous variations in both bass and treble parts. However, there are a
few cardinal errors that just seem to come naturally to a North American
musical mentality.

Pajarillo is another universal form here, which folks have told me is just
Seis por Derecho in a minor key (tuned with a sharped seventh). Here´s
Jose Gregorio Lopez doing Pajarillo on youtube (I hope this works)...

At my first lesson, Goyo said he has worked 40 years experimenting with
alternative tunings, in order to perform a more chromatic style. He
demonstrated for me, but since then I´ve been focused on getting the
basics. Maybe some other time, I´ll work on alternative tuning.




Venezuela Manicure

I got a manicure yesterday afternoon here in Barinas, Venezuela. It was a stroke of great good fortune.

At the harp class on Wednesday, I was like everyone else, playing as hard as I could just to hear myself. Everyone was playing independently, as the teacher came around and gave personal instruction. Afterward, I noticed that I had broken my left index fingernail. What a disaster! With two weeks to go here, I would not have time to grow it back out!

Beauty parlor to the rescue. The young woman did not seem at all surprised when I showed her the broken nail. It was only half broken. She glued my left index first, then went to work on my right hand. Then she worked back and forth, giving each nail three coats of acrylic stuff, and a top coat of clear nail polish.

The creole harp technique here uses a lot of fingernail, but also use the finger pad for its own special effect. Pure nail gives a tinkling sound. Pure pad is used in the bass, along with damping, for a thumping effect that is very much favored. In the extreme, the thumping is almost toneless, snapping like a drum.

I am very pleased with my new hard nails. Mine are very conservative, clear and not very shiny, maybe 1/8 of an inch showing when looking at my fingertips from the palm side. I´m guessing local harpists have 3/8 inch, maybe more.

I should have figured this out a long time ago. Any other players have stories about how they manage their nails?