Colin Harper documentary to air on BBC 2 features Bono, Johnny Marr and Horslips

A scene from Legends of Harper
Legends of Harper Belfast musician and writer Colin Harper is the subject of a new BBC documentary

A NEW BBC documentary delving into the world of Belfast musician, archivist and writer Colin Harper features contributions from musical legends including Bono, Johnny Marr and the Horslips.

Set to air on Sunday February 18 at 10.30pm on BBC 2, Legends of Harper will explore the life and work of the east Belfast-based man who has authored books on musicians Bert Jansch, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin and Andy Powell, as well as a tome on Irish piping, The Wheels of the World, and a co-write with Trevor Hodgett, Irish Folk, Trad and Blues.

As a musician, Harper’s studio collective The Legends of Tomorrow was formed in 1997, yet had never played live until a debut performance was finally captured as part of the new one-hour documentary.

The film is directed by Cormac O’Kane and produced by Barry Devlin of Horslips fame, who worked with Harper when he curated More Than You Can Chew, the Celtic rockers’ recent career-spanning, 35-disc box-set.

A scene from the new documentary Legends of Harper showing the studio collective The Legends of Tomorrow
Legends of Harper The Legends of Tomorrow, as featured in the new documentary

While Harper has also released a number of instrumental albums, it’s the songs recorded with The Legends of Tomorrow which form the musical core of the documentary.

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The new film features interviews and commentary from admirers and artists with whom its subject has worked and played, including Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn, Ralph McTell, Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Wishbone Ash man Andy Powell and Duke Special, plus renowned Irish and trad musicians such as Martin Hayes, uilleann piper John McSherry, Horslips flautist Jim Lockhart and U2 man Bono.

Legends of Harper centres on the build-up to that aforementioned live debut for The Legends of Tomorrow, filmed over two nights and reuniting two-dozen members of Harper’s collective onstage at Scott’s Jazz Club in east Belfast.

Produced by Live Under Giants, Legends of Harper will also be available via BBC iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast.

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