Newsletter January 1, 2006

Newsletter January 1, 2006:

Happy New Year, harp friends!

Since 1995, our mission has been to promote harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music.

Since 2001, we have given away 37 small harps in our Millennium Harper Awards Program. In 2005, we granted $1000 to Lis Joosten for a harp school project in Honduras, and $500 to Christina Cotruvo for a workshop for blind musicians at Overbrook School. Please search this website to learn more about Harping for Harmony.

In 2005, we also made a $5000 commitment to support the El Molino Harp School in Venezuela. In March, a group of young musicians (between 12 and 25 years of age) will spend a week with harpist Euro Olivero and traditional singer Adolfo Cardozo. El Molino is Olivero's family ranch. Cardozo is not only a musician and impresario, he is also a professor of agriculture and the founder of CENDI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education. Cardozo has written more than 30 songs about the the natural world and sustainable agriculture. Performing as "La Doctora Gallina," Cardozo's group has produced three CD's, each with its illustrated songbook.

Please read on to learn how traditional llanero music teaches lessons about the environment and sustainable development, and how you can help to continue this important work.

In living practice, llanero music resembles what may have existed formerly among the ancient celtic bards. Harps widely found, and they are readily taken up and played even by humble cowhands. In full performance, a singer is accompanied by a trio of instruments - harp, cuatro (a 4-stringed guitar) and maracas. Venezuelan country folks are keenly attentive to the world around them. Native plants and animals, especially birds, are frequently named in traditional song lyrics. Their habits and habitats are described. Thus the music is important for teaching natural science and respect for the earth.

With changing times, llanero music has declined. Recordings displace live performance. A style of accordian music called vallenato invades from across the nearby Colombian border. Where there were formerly dozens of small family-style clubs like Caney del Arpa in Guanare, now there is just one.

El Molino is a working ranch, but is is also new farm demonstration site in the heart of the savanna. It is modeled after CENDI's first demonstration farm, La Florida at the foot of the Andes near Guanare, established more than ten years ago.

In this new year, we are announcing a new and more formal membership policy and campaign. We need new sources of financial support: for international projects like El Molino; for various domestic projects; and for our Millennium Harper Awards. We also want to launch a new grant program especially for members.

You can help. Please follow links here and here to explore, pledge, and make donations on line. Or, make your pledge by mail to HHF, 428 Van Gilder, Morgantown, WV 26505.

(Note: With this new program, we no longer offer free "harper for hire" links and web pages to all comers. Instead, we list "members and sponsors." See how it works here.)

Very Best Regards

John Lozier, Executive Director