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Why Must Irish Harpist Siobhan Brady play Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Little Bird’ on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Irish Harpist is going to play Ed Sheeran’s song, Little Bird on Mount Kilimanjaro, among other set tunes for the Highest Harp Concert in Tanzania.

You have heard of Golden Harps being played by angels up in heaven, but here comes Siobhan Brady, the Irish Harpist who intends to play hers up on the roof of Africa.

The sound of Celtic Harp will be echoing from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro as the legendary harpist strums the strings from the skies.

But which song will be carried by the wind from the sky? Well, Ed Sheeran’s ‘Little Bird,’ is going to be the main theme of the Kilimanjaro Harp Expedition.

The song, according to reports, was the last tune which a Cystic Fibrosis patient had listened to before passing away.

Siobhan Brady’s ‘Highest Harp Concert’ is essentially in aid of those living with cystic fibrosis

Siobhan Brady, her father and their orchestra started her Kilimanjaro climb on Thursday, July 19, 2023

“It was always our dream to break the previous world record by holding a new Highest Harp Concert atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania,” she states.

The Uhuru Summit, which ice-crowns the Kibo peak, protrudes at an altitude of 5,895 metres above sea level. It happens to be the highest point on the continent.

And Siobhan Brady will be playing the Scottish Folk Harp there.

For the music, she will be accompanied by her father, Sean and their Highest Harp Concert team.

Their mission is to break her previously set high mountain tune record.

Just like her previous outing, this Kilimanjaro record will be broken in aid of those living with cystic fibrosis.

In fact all funds raised for the climbing are going to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

She previously achieved the Guinness World Record for the highest altitude harp performance in 2018 at Singla Pass in Little Kashmir of India, at more than 16,000 feet.

Kilimanjaro which towers at 19,340 feet beats the Singla Pass with over 3340 feet.

To beat her previous feat, she needs to play the harp for 18 minutes at Uhuru Peak.

What songs?

There is the local tune, ‘Ahsante Tanzania,’ which translates as ‘Thank You Tanzania,’ forming one of the Swahili tunes on her set list.

The number was requested by an expert composer Dr Anne-Marie O’Farrell from Dublin, Ireland.

Dr Anne-Marie O’Farrell is a seasoned harpist who performs all over the world as a solo artist, accompanist and in ensembles.

She is frequently invited to perform and teach at global conferences, festivals, and a number of International World Harp Congresses

“When I got this message from Anne-Marie, I decided to start learning the song immediately,” said Siobhan.

To the 24-year-old, lady harpist Siobhan Brady, who lives in Limerick, Ireland, however, the Swahili intonation can also be challenging.

“I must figure out how to pronounce it,” she said, adding that it would be very embarrassing if her accent brought undesired effect to what she regarded as a ‘very nice tune!’

The other song is of course Ed Sheeran’s Little Bird.

Little Bird is said to be connected to Caroline Heffernan, a patient advocate at Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

As it happens, Ms Heffernan, who also came along with Siobhan’s team to Tanzania, has cystic fibrosis.

And the song, ‘Little Bird’ is tribute to the late Triona Priestley.

Triona is a lady who died from cystic fibrosis in 2014.

Caroline Heffernan met Triona Priestley’s mother, who told her that when her daughter was being hospitalized she wrote several letters to Pop Star Ed Sheeran.

And Sheeran replied to some of her correspondences.

In fact, one day, Ed Sheeran made a direct call to Triona while she was at the hospital and sang to her the song ‘Little Bird.’

Little Bird was Triona’s favourite song, but as soon as Sheeran finished singing it, the doctor announced that she was dead.

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