Derek Bell, of the Chieftains captures the haunting, mystical quality of traditional Celtic music on this solo album of original melodies by Swami Kriyananda.

Derek played harp for over 25 years with five-time Grammy Award-winning group, The Chieftains—Ireland’s best-known interpreters of traditional Celtic music. Classically trained, Bell joined the group in 1972, after a distinguished career as a harpist with the Northern Ireland BBC Orchestra, and as a professor of harp and Irish harps at the Belfast Academy of Music.

For many years, The Chieftains have been the most influential of the Irish folk musicians, credited with doing more to spread the appreciation of traditional Irish music than any other group in Ireland’s history. Bell, a resident of Northern Ireland, had several solo albums to his credit. He composed three piano sonatas and Symphony in E-flat for orchestra, and was the recipient of the Manns Prize from the Royal College of Music.

Derek Bell

Derek Bell (1935-2002) was the legendary harpist and orchestral arranger for the five-time Grammy award winning group the Chieftains. The classically trained Bell joined The Chieftains in 1972, after a career as harpist with the Northern Ireland BBC Orchestra. Bell has several solo albums to his credit, in addition to the more than thirty recordings of the The Chieftains. He also gained a reputation, along with the other Chieftains, for unearthing rarely heard music.

The Chieftains are Ireland's best-known interpreters of traditional Celtic music, playing to sell-out crowds around the world. They were officially named Ireland's music ambassadors by the Irish government in 1989. They have lead the way in rediscovering the wealth of Irish music, going back for centuries, and have brought it to worldwide attention. They performed for Pope John Paul II and a record-breaking 1.35 million people in Dublin in 1979. They were the first group to perform on the Great Wall of China, and the first Irish group to play at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

For 31 years and as many albums, The Chieftains have been the most influential of the Irish folk musicians, credited with doing more to spread the appreciation of traditional Irish music than any other group in Ireland's history.

Derek was widely considered to be one of the finest harpists in the world.

Swami Kriyananda

Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters), who left his body in 2013, was a direct disciple of the great master, Paramhansa Yogananda, and an internationally known author, lecturer, and composer. Widely recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on meditation and yoga, he taught these principles and techniques to hundreds of thousands of students around the world.

In 1968, Kriyananda founded Ananda Village in Nevada City, California, dedicated to spreading the spirit of friendship, service, and community around the globe. Ananda is recognized as one of the most successful intentional communities in the world; over 1,000 people reside in Ananda communities in the US, India, and Italy. The European retreat and community located in Assisi, Italy, also serves Ananda meditation groups in Europe and Russia.

Ananda Village is also home to The Expanding Light, a world-renowned guest retreat facility where thousands of visitors annually visit for renewal or instruction in many aspects of meditation, yoga, and the spiritual life. The nearby Ananda Meditation Retreat, located on Ananda's first property, functions both as a retreat and as the site for Ananda's Institute of Alternative Living.

An advocate of simple living and high thinking, Swami Kriyananda's more than 140 books cover a wide range of subjects emphasizing the need to live wisely by one's own experience of life, and not by abstract theories or dogmas.

A composer since 1964, Kriyananda wrote over 400 musical works. His music is inspiring, soothing, and uplifting. Many of his later albums are instrumental works with brief affirmations or visualizations. Chuck Dilberto, of Awareness Magazine wrote, "[His] words and music are full of his life and light. His sole intention is to heal, something we could all use during these chaotic times."

Through Crystal Clarity Publishers, his works have sold over 3 million copies worldwide and have been translated into over 25 languages.

More about Swami Kriyananda, including photos and videos, is available at the
official Swami Kriyananda website.

 

Further reading:

“Derek Bell is the finest Celtic harpist of this, and quite possibly any, generation.”

Music International

“An absolutely gorgeous collection of original melodies by Swami Kriyananda are performed on the Celtic harp by harpist extraordinaire Derek Bell in this exceptional Celtic release. Richly orchestrated, this touching music immediately captures the heart with its tenderness and passion and brings a warm glow that expands with each track and leaves the listener in a deeply sentimental, serene, and spiritual space. Truly a ‘must have’ for lovers of fine Celtic harp music. The Mystic Harp easily received my highest recommendation.”

Omega Directory

“…an ambiance quiet and dreamy enough to appeal to new age audiences and Celtic folkies.”

Billboard Magazine

“Although the pieces are comparatively new, Kriyananda has captured the essence of Irish traditional music with his haunting melodies and fluctuating moods. Bell’s skills on harp, oboe, and English horn are well-known; here he once again develops themes and emotions with great sensitivity….There is a freshness throughout and feeling of discovery.”

Irish Edition

“Utterly radiant, with noble simplicity and innocence.”

NAPRA Review

“To be in the enormously capable hands of such an accomplished expert as Derek Bell for the seventy minutes of The Mystic Harp is a treat indeed. For his part, Kriyananda has captured the feelings and sounds of Celtic Ireland with a deft artistry that clearly shows his mastery of this musical genre….The Mystic Harp [is] a treasure for lovers of Celtic and harp music.”

New Age Retailer

“These compositions beautifully capture all of the mystery, mirth, and rueful emotion that is so much a part of Ireland.”

Music Design In Review

“This is a lovely, light album full of charm and innocence….The Mystic Harp will take you to places that stretch from the innocence of childhood to the mystery and otherworldliness of the spiritual.”

The New Times

The Mystic Harp radiates the delicate and loving side of the Celtic tradition.”

Carol Wright, All-Music Guide