Colin Harper

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For the footballer with the same name, see Colin Harper (footballer).

Colin Harper (born 1968) is an Irish music journalist and composer. He was born in Belfast and graduated in 1989 from Queen's University, Belfast. As a writer for the Belfast newspaper Irish News he wrote unsigned features on local bands and famous bands on tour. During the mid-nineties he had articles published in popular music magazines such as Q and Mojo. He also contributed both theatre and music reviews to The Irish Times.

Harper became a regular writer of liner notes for compilations of folk, acoustic and prog-rock artists appearing on record labels including Windsong, Demon, Castle, Hux and Snapper. His long-time admiration of Bert Jansch led to his biography of Jansch, Dazzling Stranger (its title taken from a song by Alan Tunbridge). This was launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He followed up the book release by being the driving force behind the tribute album People On The Highway: A Bert Jansch Encomium (2000).[1] He also contributed the Jansch documentary Dreamweaver on Channel 4 in 2000.[2] An updated edition of Dazzling Stranger was released in 2006 including a foreword by The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.[3]

Harper continued to work as a journalist, mainly for Mojo and Record Collector, until 2007. During this time he published one more book, Seaside Rock (2003) and co-wrote Irish Folk, Trad and Blues: A Secret History (with Trevor Hodgett, 2004[4] and 2005[5]).

In support of the charity World Wide Fund for Nature Harper organised two benefit compilation albums: The Wildlife Album (2004) and Live In Hope: The Wildlife Album 2 (2005). His other annotated CD compilations include the collected works of Atomic Rooster and Andy Roberts. Freedom & The Dream Penguin, a collection of his songs – fronted by guest vocalists including Judy Dyble, Alison O'Donnell, Janet Holmes, Paul Casey and Brian Houston – was released in 2008, credited to The Field Mouse Conspiracy.


  • Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival (Bloomsbury, 2000) (2nd edition: 2006)[3]
  • Seaside Rock (2003)
  • Irish Folk, Trad and Blues: A Secret History (Collins Press, 2004)[4]


  1. ^ Cooper, Steve. "Review: People on the Highway: A Bert Jansch Encomium". Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Harper, Colin (August 2006). Dazzling Stranger:Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival (2nd ed.). London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-0-7475-8725-5. 
  4. ^ a b Harper, Colin; Hodgett, Trevor (October 2004). Irish Folk, Trad and Blues: A Secret History. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1-903464-45-8. 
  5. ^ Harper, Colin; Hodgett, Trevor (January 2005). Irish Folk, Trad and Blues: A Secret History. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-1-901447-40-8. 

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