Celtic Harpist

Chris Knowles

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About Chris

Celtic Harpist
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Professional Celtic harpist for many years, a specialist in traditional Celtic music, but also plays popular music.

Chris has worked as a full-time freelance professional musician for 31 years, with the Celtic harp as his principal instrument, but also playing a variety of other instruments. He has performed at a large number of Arts Centres, Arts Festivals and Folk festivals all over the UK, and on numerous TV & radio programmes, both solo and in various duos and bands. He has also played at many public events for the Welsh government organisation CADW at various castles and historic sites throughout Wales, and was their official harpist playing at Caernarfon castle for 9 years. Chris has also played at a huge number of private events such as weddings and corporate events. Chris specialises particularly in traditional Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other Celtic music, but he also has a large repertoire of popular music on the harp, which he often plays for weddings and corporate functions etc. He also has a repertoire of mediaeval/renaissance music, plus a small number of light classical pieces, and can offer some original improvised solo harp music too. He has recorded 22 albums as a principal artist, mostly with harp and Irish bouzouki as his main instruments. Chris currently plays solo, and also with multi-instrumentalist Ben Walker (duo), Singer Catrin O'Neill (duo), Fiddler Mike Lease (duo), and north Wales-based Mooncoin Ceilidh band (4-piece).

Performance details
I can perform outdoors
My equipment is PAT tested
I own a PA system
Christmas, Medieval music, Early music, 1960s era music, 1970s era music, 1980s era music, 1990s era music, Folk, Traditional Irish folk, Traditional Scottish folk, Traditional English folk, Ceillidh, Originals, Pop, Acoustic, Scottish music, Vintage, Welsh folk, Ceilidh, Ambient pop
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Event types:
Wedding, Wedding proposal, Funeral / Memorial service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Private event, Corporate event, Charity event, Concert, Recording session, Burns night, Birthday party, Christmas party
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Other skills:
Fluent improviser, Arranger, Composer
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Song list

Hundreds of Irish traditional airs, jigs, reels, hornpipes, Carolan tunes etc.
Approx. 120 Scottish traditional airs, jigs, reels, strathspeys, Ports etc.
Approx. 130 Welsh traditional airs, jigs, reels, hornpipes etc.
A selection of traditional Breton, Cornish & Manx tunes.
A selection of traditional English folk tunes.
Approx. 60 early/medieval/renaissance tunes.
Theme from Zeffirelli film ’Romeo & Juliet’
Theme from ’Braveheart’ (A Gift of a Thistle)
Theme from ’Titanic’ (My Heart will go on)
Wagner's Wedding March ('Here comes the bride')
Cavatina (Theme from ’The Deer Hunter’)
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Flower Duet(Delibes)
Dance of the Blessed Spirits (Gluck)
Schubert's Ave Maria
Bach's Prelude in C (abridged)
Birds Flew Over the Spire (Gary Ryan)
Women of Ireland
Have I told you lately that I love you (Van Morrison)
Wonderful Tonight
All of Me (John Legend)
Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)
When a Man loves a Woman
Moon River
Nights in White Satin
Your Song (Elton John)
Sacrifice (Elton John)
Can you feel the Love Tonight (Elton John)
Unchained Melody
You Raise me up
Annie's Song (John Denver)
Autumn Leaves
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
I Can’t Help falling in love with you
Groovy Kind of Love
When I Fall in Love
And I Love Her (Beatles)
Here, There and Everywhere (Beatles)
Norwegian Wood (Beatles)
Jealous Guy (John Lennon)
Scarborough Fair
Fields of Gold (Sting)
Shape of my Heart (Sting)
Fragile (Sting)
Stairway to Heaven
Time after time (Cyndi Lauper)
True Colours ( Cyndi Lauper)
Come away with me (Nora Jones)
Nightingale (Nora Jones)
May it Be (Enya)
Only Time (Enya)
Athair ar Neamh(Father in Heaven) (Enya)
Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)
Moondance (Van Morrison)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
The Rose
Someone Like You
Plaisir d’Amour
Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac) (slower, like Carrie Mac version)
A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
Can You Feel the Love Tonight (Elton John)
Let Me Wrap you in my Warm &Tender Love (Percy Sledge)
Songbird (Fleetwood Mac)
Sail Away (David Gray)
Babylon (David Gray)
This Year's Love (David Gray)
Love theme from 'The Godfather'
How Long will I Love you (Ellie Goulding)
Perfect (Ed Sheeran)
Yours (Ella Henderson)
I'm Yours (Jason Mraz)
Clocks (Coldplay)
The First Time ever I saw your face
Killing me Softly
Young & in Love (Lana Del Rey)
Young and Beautiful (Lana Del Rey)
Someone Like You (Van Morrison)
Wings (Birdy)
Angel (Sara Maclachlan)
Rains of Castamere (from 'Game of Thrones')
Let her Go (Passenger)
At Last (Etta James)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder)
Customer questions

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

I always try to be flexible regarding timing changes, and can usually accommodate small timing changes of 30-40 minutes or so- but please let me know as soon as possible if there is any greater change to the planned timing for the event, as with longer distance travel I may need to alter my travel & accommodation plans accordingly.

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

I do not supply a DJ/Ipod service with my solo act.

How much time do you need to set up?

I normally require approximately 30 minutes to set up and tune the harp.

Can I pick the pieces you play from the set list?

For popular music, feel free to pick your favourites from my repertoire list. For traditional Celtic music, my repertoire list is too long to include on here, but I'm happy to discuss if there are some particular pieces you'd like me to play, and make an effort to make a selection of suitable material for your requirements.

Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?

I bring my instrument and small but high quality 100 Watt amplification for the harp. The only equipment I need to be provided with is an armless chair and a mains power point close to where you wish me to set up.

Can you learn specific pieces before the event?

For Weddings, I am willing to arrange and learn 3 or 4 special requests specially for you, if I don't already play them, at no extra charge- as long as they are suitable for the instrument.

What do your clients love most about your performances?

I have often been complimented on the expression and artistry in my playing, the musicality of my improvisations, and also the rhythm and intricacy of ornamentation in my playing of traditional jigs and reels.

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

Glastonbury Festival Cambridge Folk Festival Pontardawe Folk Festival Rhinns Celtic Festival, Islay Edinburgh Folk Festival Wimborne Folk Festival Aberfeldy Folk Fest. Crawley Folk Fest. Garden Festival Wales Chester Arts Festival Tower Bridge,London St. David's Hall, Cardiff Nat. Museum of Wales, Cardiff Caernarfon castle De Coste Centre, Pictou, Canada

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

Alan Stivell Alison Kinnaird Maire Ni Chathasaigh Wendy Stewart Robin Williamson

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

Performance for H.M. The Queen at her first visit to Conwy Castle.


Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£150
Up to 1 hour£210
Up to 2 hours£210
Up to 3 hours£225


Booked 8 times through Encore!

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6 verified reviews
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From Encore customers:

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Prudence G, 3 months ago

Everyone has said how wonderful Chris played . A fitting tribute to our father who was the most wonderful kind man

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Denise S, 6 months ago

Chris performed beautifully in a very confined space ...everyone was super impressed and it was a wonderful surprise for the newlyweds ....would highly recommend him.

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Joanne S, 11 months ago

Chris, played at our recent wedding in October, all our guest complimented on his style and expertise and how lovely the harp sounded on the day and how it Set the scene of our wedding. Communication from Chris was very prompt. And he was happy to travel to our location and even stay near by the night before. Chris came across that nothing was too much trouble. Chris also took the time to learn additional songs to play which I wanted at my wedding. He has a extensive Play list which are perfect for weddings. If anyone needs a harpist I would highly recommend Chris. He was a perfect addition to the day :)

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Stephanie T, 1 year ago

Chris played beautifully and I would recommend to everyone I know. He made this part Of my Wedding day very special.

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From other customers:

E.Preston, 3 years ago

Thankyou for the beautiful music at our wedding on Friday, we didn't get chance to thank you as we quickly went outside for photos before it started to rain, but wanted to say that the music sounded brilliant!!

A.Jones, 3 years ago

I just wanted to let you know that you were a huge success at Bethan and Josh's wedding on Saturday !! You were brilliant and I have received so many compliments about your performance and how lovely it was to hear a Celtic Harp. I will definitely be recommending you to others and of course would love to have you back if and when our other daughter gets married.

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