Charles Guard is one of the top harpists in the field of Celtic music, carving a name out for himself as a recording artist and performer during the 1980s and 1990s. He was born on the Isle of Man, in the island capital of Douglas, at a hotel overlooking Douglas Bay -- the Isle of Man is in the Irish Sea; appropriately enough, given Guard's subsequent career, it is located between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Raised a Manxman, his introduction to Gaelic music reportedly included an encounter with drunken holiday revelers as a boy. He was serious enough about music to end up attending the Royal College Of Music, and serious enough about folk music to avoid letting those four years change his harp technique. He found enthusiastic audiences across the British isles and in Ireland, and began recording for Shanachie Records in the 1980s, and his performance of Scottish tunes also got him a spot on BBC Highland. His playing and repertory has also brought him a following in Wales. He plays traditional Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and Manx music on two kinds of instruments, a gut-strung level harp and a wire-strung harp modeled on the Sirr harp in the National Museum of Ireland (but with 34 instead of 38 strings), both built by Flemish artisan Jan Muylleart. Guard is also something of a historian of the Irish harp, and quite capable of tracing its evolution and ever-changing role in traditional Irish and popular music. He has recorded and played with Christine Collister, and served as an arranger on various harp recordings.
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