Suite Elegante’ Arkansas’ premiere harp and flute duo at the Library


Suite Elegante’ Arkansas’ premiere harp and flute duo, will perform a concert of Celtic music in honor of the ancient Celtic holy day, Beltane, on Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at the Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler St.

Beltane is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on April 30 through May 1, or halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It was observed in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush; a thorn bush decorated with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. Holy wells were also visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe.

Flutist Gwenn Higginbotham and Celtic harpist Pamela Gibson have performed throughout the state as well as nationally.

Pamela Gibson plays a walnut Celtic harp made by Dusty Strings. In addition to a full performance schedule, she has published original works for the harp and flute and released a CD, "Women, Children and Angels," a compilation of her arrangements of Hildegard von Bingen’s music.

Gwenn Higginbotham performs on a French model rose gold Muramatsu flute and a French model 14-karat Miyazawa Boston Classic flute. She teaches flute at the UALR Community School of the Arts, and performs throughout the region.

Suite Elegante’ is a member of Arkansas Arts on Tour program.

Refreshments will be served.

All library events are free and open to the public. For more information, call the library at 327-7482.