Three Strands at NBGW 2015

47 Harp Strings, 3 Strands and 1000+ Botanical Plants! 

The Harp is the National Instrument of Wales yet many of people living in Wales have never touched one.

The National Botanical Garden of Wales aims to change that for all adventurous and curious visitors to the garden this June! On the 13th and 14th of June the NBGW hosts it fourth annual harp weekend, two full days of family friendly events and concerts including hands on harps workshops for those who have never played the harp before.

Returning by popular demand Harpist Shelley Fairplay will be teaching workshops, leading her student ensembles “Dynamic harps” and performing her concert ‘The Three Strands; Passion, Sorrow and Joy”. The harp weekend also marks the official launch of her latest CD, which carries the title of the concert.

Why “The Three Strands”? Throughout generations tales have been told of harpists” playing three musical strands. The details differ in each story, but they”re always played by a harpist, and they always encompass the human experience. This is a tradition that”s not about “traditional music”, but a tradition of expression. Exploring this through the harp, every musician can create a completely unique style.

Shelley”s performances bring to life music that reflects the three strands: Passion, Sorrow and Joy. The program weaves a story of three strands using diverse music styles including Celtic, Classical and Flamenco to Doctor Who and Starwars! The program not only includes the harp being played traditionally but also uses a looper pedal and amplification for parts of the concert. This year for the first time Shelley will be bring her golden electro harp to the NBGW harp weekend. This specialist instrument she wears on a harness and walks around with whist on stage performing, the harp will be used as part of the 2.30pm concert on both days.

Shelley is so passionate about engaging people with the harp that she likes to create ‘harp petting zoos’ at her concerts so people who have never touched a harp before can put their hands on it.  In addition to teaching & performing she has also created two harp ensembles, called ‘Dynamic Harps’ – one for adults and one for teenagers – both of which are performing at the harp weekend with Shelley leading the groups from her harp.

The Concert “The Three Strands: Passion, Sorrow and Joy” takes place at 2.30pm on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of June 2014 as part of the National Botanical Garden of Wales Family Harp weekend. Events run from 10:30am to 5pm and include The Three Strands concert, try the harp for the first time at a Hands on Harps workshop, listen to the ensemble group Dynamic Harps perform, become a Harp Detective, and to enter our Draw the harp in the Flowers competition.

All the concerts and activities are free of charge once you have paid to enter the National Botanic Garden of Wales. For admission charges please visit

If you have any questions regarding this event please click here or email Shelley Fairplay via email address:


For further information regarding the full weekend of events please