Ottawa harp duo Acacia Lyra plays traditional harp music and much more!

Traditional harp music is only one element of the eclectic harp music repertoire by Ottawa harp duo Acacia Lyra. This Ottawa-based duo with Janine Dudding and Susan Sweeney Hermon has been making music together since 2006, and their collaboration has resulted in three harp music CDs and a growing list of concert and festival appearances showcasing contemporary and traditional Celtic music, folk music, and their original compositions.

Ottawa harpist Janine Dudding

Janine's love of Celtic music started at an early age at her Grandmother's knee as she listened to the stories and music of times past in Ireland.

She hails from Toronto where she first fell in love with the beautiful sound of the Celtic harp, and began to study with Nora Bumanis in the mid-seventies.

Ottawa harpist Janine Dudding

A move to Whitehorse, Yukon in the late seventies provided a wide open and colourful landscape in which to develop her own style and gift for arranging tunes for the harp and voice. In Yukon Janine performed at the Farrago, Dawson City and Frostbite Folk Festivals.

Janine also lived for several years in Sri Lanka where she played as a guest with the Colombo Philharmonic Orchestra in the production of Biset's Carmen.

On returning to Canada Janine settled in Ottawa, where she now studies with the accomplished harpist and performer Lucile Brais Hildesheim.

Janine was an active member and performer in the Ottawa Harp Choir, and here the collaboration with Susan was born.



Ottawa harpist Susan Sweeney Hermon

Susan Sweeney Hermon began learning to play the Celtic harp once her children could get to school and back on their own. Her early focus was the music closest to her heart - tunes from the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Galicia.

Ottawa harpist Susan Sweeney Hermon

She is not just a 'Celtoid' however. Multilingual and well-travelled, Susan is a lover of lore - stories and songs that grow out of many countries' soil, like beautiful perennials, from one generation to another.

Over the years Susan has collaborated with storytellers and has brought her harp into hospitals, schools, retirement residences and community halls. She has provided musical background at weddings and receptions, including events for the Speaker of the Senate on Parliament Hill, the Prime Minister's residence and the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

She was a founding member of the Ottawa Harp Choir, an ensemble of ten Celtic harps, which performed in the National Capital Region for over a decade.

Susan has produced a number of concerts featuring other harpists and singers, and also presents a series of house concerts in wintertime, using music in her home to raise donations for those who have no home.

Ottawa harpists Susan and Janine, photo by Jean-Marc Carisse

Ottawa harpists Acacia Lyra