Royal Kona Harp Ensemble presents Celtic-themed concerts

  • From left, Jean-Pierre Thoma, Manuel Roberto, Irminsul, Bernice Roberto and Madhavi Infinity perform "Songs of the Green," a special concert of Celtic music Friday and Sunday in Kona. (Courtesy photo)

KAILUA-KONA — The beauty and magic of the Celtic music tradition comes to Kona this weekend as the Royal Harp Ensemble presents “Songs of the Green.”

“It’s more than St. Patrick’s Day,” said Manuel Roberto, one of the five musicians who will take to the stage this Friday and Sunday. “It’s a spiritual experience where people can get in touch with themselves and the Celtic music.”


The first concert is 6 p.m. Friday at Queen Emma Community Center, 81-1004 Konawaena School Road, in Kealakekua. The second and final performance is set for 4 p.m. Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, at Privateer’s Cove Community Center in the Hualalai Center in Kailua-Kona.

The five-member ensemble for the performances comprises Manuel Roberto, Bernice Roberto, Irminsul, Jean-Pierre Thoma and Madhavi Infinity. The group’s released three CDs since forming a decade ago, in addition to individual releases by the members.

Manuel Roberto will perform on bansuri and the Irish whistle while his wife, Bernice Roberto, will play harp and keyboards and provide vocals. On clarinet and silver flute will be Thoma rounded out by Irminsul performing harp, keyboards, bodhran and vocals, and Infinity, who will share her vocal talents in addition to playing the harp and keyboards.

The quintet will play an array of stylings, including pieces by big names like Irish singer-songwriter Enya, composer James Horner, and musician Loreena McKennitt, as well as some originals the group has composed and pieces from the baroque period (1600-1750), including compositions by Celtic harper, composer and singer Turlough O’Carolan.

“He’s the father of Irish harp music,” Manuel Roberto said of O’Carolan. “Turlough O’Carolan is one of the most beautiful music you can listen to — it can really hit hard.”

Irminsul is also a master of Turlough O’Carolan’s music.

“Irminsul is a Celt, he knows all the words of Turlough O’Carolan by heart, by memory, and he bought it to us 10 years ago,” Manuel Roberto said.

The pair of Irish-themed concerts is different from other Royal Kona Harp Ensemble performances that typically includes an array of musical stylings from around the world.

“But this particular concert people should expect to hear Irish music,” Roberto said, noting that the group may play “Toccata in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach to illustrate the difference in baroque period stylings with O’Carrollane’s compositions.

They’ll also be playing some good old Irish jigs, so don’t forget your dancing shoes, he added.

“We can really make people move,” Manuel Roberto said.


Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling Manuel Roberto at 640-6423 or at the door. Dress is informal or Celtic; be sure to wear dancing shoes if you plan to jig.

Info: Visit, email or call/text 640-2643.

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