Grammy-nominated performer, composer and educator Zacbe Pichardo performs on the Arpa Jarocha, a wooden harp typical of the Mexican Gulf coast, and a descendant of the 16th century Spanish harp. This is the first in a three-part series presenting harp traditions from around the world. Performers will be introduced by Musical Instruments curator Bradley Strauchen-Scherer, in programs inspired by the Met’s Musical Instruments Collection and presented in the context of the Met’s encyclopedic collections and exhibitions. Following the concerts, guests are invited on a guided tour of the newly reopened Musical Instruments galleries.
The harp is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world, depicted throughout the Met’s collection in the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs, the vases of Greek and Roman art, and the paintings of Sacci, Ducreux and hundreds of others. In Africa, the many stringed kora originated in the valley of the River Gambia and is found across more than 150 cultural groups. The Celtic harp has been an emblem of Irish nationalism since the 10th century. The European harp made its way to Mexico, where it was fused with local traditions to form the Arpa Jarocha. Used for festivals and banquets, funerals and temple rituals, the harp has existed practically unchanged for thousands of years – and yet lends itself to innovation and interpretation.