John Doan Tour in France Part III: An Ancient Castle, A Toy Museum, and Harp Guitars

So far in this journal of my European Tour 2013, we’ve revisited our adventures in Paris and played with fast cars and harp guitars in Le Mans. Now we’re visiting an ancient castle, toy museum, and more playing with harp guitars.

36.The Château de Saint-Ulrich Ribeauvillé

The next leg of the tour brought me to the northeast of France into the Alsace region on the border or Germany and Switzerland. This is a lush green expanse of mountains and rivers littered with scores of small rustic villages. It is here where Yaouen lives with his family in the shadow of ancient castles and winding rivers.

Village of Ribeauvillé

He invited me to the small village of Ribeauvillé where some of the people still dress as they did one thousand years ago.
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John Doan Tour in France Part Two: Paris – Le Mans – Fast Cars and Harp Guitars

After Paris we drove to Le Mans, a city known for car racing, ancient buildings and doors, obscure building regulations, and now for hosting the first International Festival for the Harp Guitar.

I was honored to be among such great international players.


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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

John Doan Beyond Six Strings Concert in Lavin Switzerland on June 3, 2012

John Doan European Concert Tour Poster 2012 playing the Brunner travel harp guitarNOTE: The concert date has been changed from June 2 to June 3.

John Doan will be performing his Beyond Six Strings concert in Lavin, Switzerland, on June 3, 2012, at 8PM as part of his ongoing harp guitar design and development project with Brunner Guitars on his Concert Tour in Europe 2012.

Lavin is located in one of the most beautiful valleys in Switzerland called Engadin. It is an old small town in the middle of the valley surrounded by high mountain peaks.

The concert will be in this intimate setting with John playing a travel harp guitar made by Lukas Brunner in Lavin, bringing the harp guitar back home. The European Tour Poster features John playing his Brunner travel harp guitar.

The workshop of Brunner Guitars and this most remarkable instrument builder is a must-see destination for fans of the harp guitar.

John Doan Presenting Guitar Master Class in Moscow May 21, 2012

john doan harp guitar retreat nick receives pointers from John DoanJohn Doan will be presenting a Master Class for guitar and harp guitar in Moscow as part of his Concert Tour in Europe 2012. It will be followed by a May 23 concert at the Moscow Guitar Club.

For information about the Master Class and Moscow Guitar Club concert, please email Жилин Андрей.

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John Doan a pioneer of the twenty-string harp guitar. He is also an Emmy-nominated performer, composer, public speaker, historian, instrument collector, and university professor. Upcoming concerts are listed in the calendar and news, updates, and articles can be found on John’s blog.

John Doan performs internationally on stage and at fairs and festivals, dazzling audiences with the harp guitar and other multiple stringed instruments. Upcoming concerts include:

John Doan Victorian Chirstmas ConcertsJohn Doan’s Victorian Christmas Concert tour is lining up for winter 2012. Concerts in Arizona and Oregon are confirmed. Stay tuned for more news or subscribe to the site or email alerts to be notified of upcoming concerts.

To listen to samples of John Doan’s music and buy CDs, visit the Discography pages where CDs, DVDs, Sampler Releases, and Sheet Music.

John Doan Harp Guitar RetreatJohn Doan offers group, private, and college courses on the harp guitar, multiple string instruments, history of music, and more. The annual Harp Guitar Retreat in his home in Salem, Oregon, is every July. This year’s Harp Guitar Retreat is Fifth Annual Harp Guitar Retreat July 6-8, 2012, and registration is now open.

Contact John Doan for more information on performances, speaking, and concerts, or if you have questions about the annual Harp Guitar Retreat.

To learn more about John Doan, check out his blog, biography, read press reviews of concerts and recordings, watch videos, view a gallery of fascinating string instruments from around the world and throughout history, many of them from John’s collection.

John Doan on the Harpolyre – Three-Necked Harp Guitar

john Doan Primal Twang Harpolyre  - Photo, Erin Fitzgerald Taylor GuitarsMy YouTube videos playing the harpolyre continue to get a lot of attention, and I wanted to share with you a little of the backstory of this amazing three-necked harp guitar.

In an effort to bring history to the harp guitar I discovered ten works for the harpolyre written by Fernando Sor, known as the Father of the Classical Guitar. The amazing thing about these compositions is not only are they extremely tender and lyric pieces, but they had never been played since 1830 and perhaps have never actually been heard in public until my recording “The Lost Music of Fernando Sor” along with my live performances and YouTube videos. I felt like Indiana Jones uncovering this forgotten music for a forgotten instrument.

I ordered the microfilm of this music in 1977 from the La Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) and with this extremely rare and beautiful music in my hands, I could only dream of finding one of a handful of existing harpolyres upon which to really recreate these beautiful musical pieces. After thirty years of the hunt, I was blessed to find a circa 1830 harpolyre that had been restored to near pristine condition.


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Fifth Annual Harp Guitar Retreat July 6-8, 2012

John Doan Harp Guitar Retreat Harpolyre Lessons

John Doan teaches the first harpolyre lesson in nearly 200 years at his Annual Harp Guitar Retreat

The 5th Annual Harp Guitar Retreat is set for July 6-8, 2012, in my home in Salem, Oregon.

If you are not familiar with the Harp Guitar Retreat, it is an intimate and stress-free environment where harp guitar aficionados gather for a weekend retreat for harp guitar all the way all the time.

The weekend includes instruction and inspiration on harp guitar playing skills. I’m available to the students throughout the entire weekend to work with them privately or in groups on the art of the harp guitar. Instruments are available on site for practice and experimenting with the different types of harp guitars. We keep the educational seminar limited to five to seven participants for in depth study and exploration of the guitar.

The schedule includes two daily group sessions and a half hour private session, an evening concert on Friday and Saturday, with an optional participant concert Sunday night. Fees include meals, lodging, private and group sessions, and concerts. Spouses and guests are also welcome to join us, and there are many things for them to do as well as you including hiking, tax free shopping, local wine tasting, hot tub, trampoline, and wireless Internet. It’s a lovely part of the state and there is so much to see and do, or you can just enjoy the beautiful mountain top view of the area and relax reading or napping in the garden.

Participants Fee: $685
Includes four nights stay, three private sessions, six group sessions, meals, evening -presentations, and various incidentals.

Additional guests Fee: $250
Includes four nights stay, meals, evening presentations, and various incidentals.

For a registration form or more information, see the Annual Harp Guitar Retreat page, call or write:

harpguitar@gmail.com
503-364-478
PO Box 5081, Salem, OR 97304