10th Anniversary Season of Portland Classic Guitar Series Presents John Doan

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The 10th Anniversary Season of the Portland Classic Guitar Series presents Emmy-Nominated musician and storyteller John Doan with his acclaimed “Homage to Fernando Sor” program.

Imagine stepping into a time machine with Doctor Who to experience the world that shaped the beginnings of the classical guitar and the life of its most revered player, Fernando Sor.

That is what it may feel like as you hear the very sounds of 200 years ago on period instruments that Sor would have known but are rarely if ever heard today followed by John’s own inspired compositions that try to unveil the meaning and feeling behind what Sor himself tried to convey within his own musical language. Yesterday becomes today as history comes to life again.

In addition to the music you will see the world as Sor would have seen it through a multimedia presentation of period paintings both during the show and pre-show. John guides his audience in an immersion experience by playing themes of Sor’s on one of the first guitars made in England in 1819 perhaps at the commission of Sor himself. He then follows with his own haunting music inspired by Sor’s themes on a rare Bog Oak guitar – English maker Gary Southwell’s first guitar made from wood 5,500 years old!

Come experience a concert that contemplates the mystery of time passing, the drama of living in challenging times where the stakes are high in love and war and where moments of beauty connects the past to our present. Continue reading

7th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat: Students Learn Lots About The Harp Guitar And Outdoor Concert with Special Guest Mason Williams Huge Success

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Harp Guitar Retreat Morning Class

Harp Guitar Retreat Morning Class

The 7th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat was a great event for all. All the participants made friends quickly starting off with a Thursday night performance for each other.

Weekend morning classes began with reviewing various exercises from the new harp guitar instruction book John Doan is preparing for publication. Continue reading

Television Interview with John Doan Christmas Show

From the archives…

In this national television interview by Shannon Woodland with John Doan about the Victorian Christmas show, now called “Christmas Unplugged.”

Celebrating its 27th year, this annual tradition is a musical journey back through time, much like Doctor Who, to a time when we made our own entertainment through stories and song.

In old times, people would have zithers, guitars, or banjos, making their own music…anyone in the household could play these.

I’ve found so many instruments, so many artifacts from this time past that have a certain charm to them. They all tell a story about who we were.

…music is a great equalizer. It is something beyond words. It is non-verbal and parodies our emotions…

The annual John Doan Christmas Show, “Christmas Unplugged: Reclaiming the Holiday Spirit” is on tour throughout the Oregon State area now.

If you cannot make the concert, you can honor the tradition with the Wrapped In White” CD and the Victorian Christmas DVD of the Emmy-nominated show.

Sixth Annual Harp Guitar Retreat Huge Success

Harp Guitar Retreat 2013 Gerry Class

The Sixth Annual Harp Guitar Retreat held at my home in Oregon was a huge success. Not only did we talk about and play harp guitars all day and night but we all became great friends!

Harp Guitar Retreat 2013 BBQ7

Holding the Retreat atop of an extinct volcanic plug seemed to encourage harp guitar music to erupt from every room along with great conversations at outdoor meals.

Evening Barbecues were great fun outdoors and provided a perfect opportunity to talk more about harp guitars.

Joshua Tan won the award for coming the furthest distance (8,148.6 miles) as he flew all the way from Malaysia for the Harp Guitar Retreat. Where he comes from a cool day is 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 celsius). It may have been a new experience to actually place coals in the barbecue to cook the food.
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John Doan’s Living Room Concert Saturday July 6, 2013

John Doan - living room concert - the chair awaits in his home.

For those of you within driving distance of Salem, Oregon or who are visiting the area I will be giving an intimate house concert (8pm) in my own living room July 6th with a potluck (6:30pm) and you are invited. Tickets are available for this rare and exciting evening. Once you have secured your admission I will send you a confirmation with my address and directions to the event. RSVP if you will be coming to the potluck.

John Doan plays in a home concert with the harpolyre guitar.

John Will play a variety of instruments that he ordinarily could not bring on tour. Past living room concerts have drawn people from as far away as California, Washington and Pennsylvania!

Potluck outdoors at John Doan home summer concert.

John Doan Living Room Concert in Your Own Living Room

If you have any concert venue suggestions, contacts, or would like to have me in your own living room for a house concert, please Contact me.

John Doan living room concert in his home.

John Doan Concert at the Chapel Arts Center, Bath, England

Press Release

John Doan at Celtic Cottage.(Bath, UK). — Emmy nominee and master harp guitarist John Doan with family roots to Bath and Burton, will perform at the Chapel Arts Centre, St James’s Memorial Hall as part of his European Tour 2013. Chapel Arts Centre is located at Lower Borough Walls, Bath, BA1 1QR. The show is scheduled for 8pm on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Tickets are advance: £8.00, Door: £10.00. For more information, call the Chapel Arts Centre at 01225 461700.

A “Celtic Pilgrimage with John Doan” features music from John’s award winning recording “Eire – Isle of the Saints” (Winner of “Best Celtic Album of the Year”) and Wayfarer (also nominated for the same title).

Concert Description

john doan playing harp guitar in England.Master harp guitarist and storyteller John Doan is a Bard for the 21st Century bringing back soulful and provocative musical sketches from a pilgrimage to the most sacred sites of the British Isles. “Thin Places,” as they were once called, were believed to be where the space between heaven and earth, and past and future, were thinly divided. John shares what he found there inspired by breathtaking landscapes, historic ruins, and dynamic stories underlying the faith and vision of a people who shaped the world we have come to call our own. He now leads his audiences back down ancient paths to locations made famous by St. Patrick and the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland” along winding roads to secluded sanctuaries and by boat to remote island retreats. Adventurous, thoughtful, and renewing, this is a journey memorable for its achingly beautiful moments and encouraging spirit. Continue reading

Victorian Christmas Tour 2012

John Doan Victorian Christmas Concert with harp guitar in front of fire place.This year celebrates the 26th annual tour of John Doan’s Victorian Christmas Concert. This year’s tour includes Oregon, California, and Arizona. Tickets sell out fast, so get yours now.

The festive concert is a live version of Doan’s Emmy-nominated Public Broadcasting television special, which re-enacts what it might have been like to celebrate Christmas a century ago. “The show explores how Victorians invented many Christmas traditions we remember and quite a few we have forgotten,” said the Willamette music professor. “The 20-string harp guitar, classical banjo and ukelin are just a few of the original instruments that will be featured. The aim is to recapture the feeling of a time before radio and TV when our ancestors provided most of their own musical entertainment at home, especially during the holidays.”

Doan plays more than a dozen turn-of-the-century instruments once popular in American parlors, on vaudeville stages and in mandolin orchestras. He explains their history in a entertaining and often zany fashion, shows slides of old catalogues and archival photographs, and leads the audience in singing (or whistling) many of our most beloved carols. John will include several arrangements from his CD, “Wrapped in White: Visions of Christmas Past.”
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To Russia with Love – Part 1 – First Impressions

I suppose if one were living life fully, each moment in each day would seem like an adventure. Travel takes me away from all that is ordinary which is no doubt extraordinary except for that I have gotten use to everything and everyone that is usually around me. Last December a fan of mine in some ways awoke me from my waking sleep when he wrote me from Moscow and inquired if I had plans of performing there in the future. My custom is to write back and explore if there are any possibilities. I then received an extraordinary response from Жилин Андрей, or should I say, Andrew Jilan who claimed that when he was fifteen he had three favorite musicians/groups that he listened to. I never dreamed that I would ever be in league with Jimi Page and Iron Maiden but there I was raised high in the pantheon of cultural icons. We skyped each other and set a week mid May for my debut concerts in Russia and perhaps for the first harp guitar concerts heard there as well.

John Down in Moscow in a vehicle.After having performed in Ukraine and Germany my wife Deirdra and I arrived on my Birthday in Moscow. Andrew had prearranged a cab – basically someone who has highjacked the family car and has found a few hours of employment (the cabbies at the airport charge several times more).

Valdimer Putin - photographAndrew had never received a rock star before. I didn’t know if he was being kind and shaved part of his head to emulate me or that he enjoyed looking like Vladimir Lenin but his gentle demeanor put us at ease as we rushed through the strange landscape of endless apartment structures and construction detours.
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John Doan Visits L’viv, Ukraine, New Harp Guitar Capital of the World?

Early in May I had an adventure visiting L’viv, Ukraine to give harp guitar concerts.

It was like entering into a time warp as the city had a holiday celebrating its long history with people walking through the streets in medieval costumes.  There were even horse drawn carriages.
Ancient church walls were adorned with spectacular gold icons and detailed wall paintings.
There were shops with handmade goods like this candy shop brimming over with tempting delights.

The central park benches were either filled with lovers locked in Ukrainian embrace or with old men playing board games.

 

Deirdra and I were waiting our turn for a park bench

I sat down and had a long talk with one of the locals and later went atop a building for a view of the city skyline.

 

There were children dancing to folk music on a large stage in the town square.

This is where I introduced the 20-string harp guitar to mobs of cheering Ukrainians who were introduced to the instrument as “The Bandura of the 21st Century” (read on about the Bandura).

 

The real exciting part to my adventure in Lviv was a visit to the Trembita Musical Instrument Factory. They have years of experience building Ukrainian instruments like the Bandura. It is not unlike the version of harp guitar I have championed my entire career (complete with super treble strings).

It was amazing to see the walls lined with instruments.

They have remained a Ukrainian favorite for centuries as seen in one of the local sculptures. An image of one is even found on their money.

 

Myron Kuzemsky, the president of the factory, showed me one of the Banduras near completion.

I meet Jay Buckey who is working with Trembita to make harp guitars. The one I tried out was made quite well and had a very nice tone. Jay showed me one of the tops for an upcoming Dyer Model harp guitar.

 

Jay Buckey has formally started his new company “Your Harp Guitar” after a series of test instruments were made.  He has overseen a number of modifications and has even included in his future production harp mandolins and the new 21-string “John Doan Model” – a harp guitar based on the plans of his Elliott-Sullivan harp guitar (with an added bass string).  He is consulting with its noted designer – Jeffery Elliott aiming at the highest quality in an affordable instrument.

Before leaving L’viv Jay and I gave the first harp guitar concert in Ukrainian history with a little help from his friends (Alla who has the voice of an Angel, and Peter who moved the audience to tears!). The audience was so responsive with applauds that continued on and on prolonging the concert.  They loved it and we loved playing for them.

One fan came 3 hours by train to come to the event.  He is anxious to make a “Your Harp Guitar” one of his own and with the factory gearing up to produce 40 harp guitars a month this dream can come true.

Do the math.  At that rate of production most harp guitars made on the planet will come from L’viv, Ukraine perhaps making it by sheer numbers the harp guitar capital of the world someday!

 

 

European Tour Concert Addition: John Doan in Tennisheim Nassenfels June 10, 2012

John Doan’s European tour is so popular, they’ve added another show to the schedule. John will be performing at Tennisheim Nassenfels at 1900 (7PM) on June 10, 2012, in Nassenfels, Germany. Details on the concert are available in German. The public is welcome and tickets are by donation. Continue reading