Bríd Harper is regarded as one of the leading Irish traditional fiddle players of the last forty years. She grew up close to the east Donegal village of Castlefinn and started playing the fiddle at the age of nine. There is music on both sides of her family. Her grandfather Stephen Harper was a fiddler and came from a musical family. On her mother’s side her uncle Frank Kelly is a well known fiddler.
In the mid 1970’s Bríd began taking music lessons with Pat McCabe at her local branch of Comhaltas. She was also heavily encouraged by her parents who brought her to sessions and fleadhanna. There was a lot of Irish music in the house in the form of LPs and Cassettes.
She won all the underage competitions at the annual All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil both in the Slow Air and Dance Music categories. In 1988 she won three prestigious titles – Senior All Ireland, Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas na Gaeilge.
She is an MA graduate of the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance at University of Limerick. She has toured extensively and performed with many great musicians including Dermot Byrne, Steve Cooney, Tony O’Connell, Arty McGlynn, Nollaig Casey, Maeve Donnelly, Harry Bradley, John Doyle, Sylvain Barou Nicolas Quemener and more.
Bríd is highly respected and much sought after as a teacher. She has tutored at Summer Schools and workshops throughout Ireland, The UK, The USA, Canada, many parts of mainland Europe, New Zealand and Australia. She has appeared on every major broadcast channel on the island of Ireland as well as BBC Alba Scotland. She has featured on local radio stations in France, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. In 2022, she was nominated for best instrumentalist in the RTÉ Radio Folk Awards.
Her much anticipated solo recording “Bríd Harper” released in 2015 was described by Tradconnect.com as “solo fiddle of the most exquisite kind” and “ one of this year’s best traditional albums”. Her newest recording “INIS” was released in March of 2022 of which the Irish Times review stated “There’s a lithe spaciousness about this collection that belies the thought and enormous talent that propels it from start to finish, Harper’s fine fiddle playing now shimmering in the light of her equally fine compositional skills. A true long-player.”
Bríd is also a member of the SíFiddlers formed in 2018 which is made up of 13 female Donegal fiddlers. They released a recording in 2020 showcasing some of the most popular and better known Donegal repertoire. Bríd who resides near Dungannon Co Tyrone teaches fiddle on a one-on-one basis from her home and in recent times has begun composing tunes in her spare time. She is a visiting tutor and performer at The Irish World Academy in Limerick University.
Instructor – Intermediate Fiddle