CLOUDS, Les Mis and Summer

Summer 2013 is turning out to be very busy indeed!

Last week was the first leg of the CLOUDS Harp Quartet tour.  We did five concerts in and around Manchester and had a great time, rehearsals were at my flat, rather interesting fitting four pedal harps into an average-sized lounge:

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The tour is to promote our new CD entitled WATER:

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We are all so excited about this new piece.  It’s written by Esther Swift – but I use the term loosely – nothing is physically written down.  Esther composes the piece, then teaches it to us aurally and by demonstration.  When we first started playing together about four years ago I’d never done anything like it, but now I love it.  The music is so free because we aren’t bound by sheets of music, we have to communicate a lot during our performances and I think it makes us much tighter as a group.

*At this point I’d just like to say anyone wishing to purchase WATER can do so by clicking here http://www.cloudsandharps.bigcartel.com/product/water *

Also, here are the dates for our 2013 tour – catch us in Edinburgh, Peebles, Newcastle or North Wales:

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On the first day of rehearsals with CLOUDS, my new lever harp arrived!  I’ve hired one for the year, and it arrived like this:

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It’s a Dusty Strings Ravenna 34 and so far I’m really happy with it – I even went busking earlier this week!  I hadn’t really realised how heavy these things are, yes it’s easier than a pedal harp but too much walking around with this on my shoulder results in a lot of pain.  Definitely an interesting experience though.

So this week I’m playing for Les Miserables over in Runcorn.  Same company that I played for when they did Phantom of the Opera last year.  It’s a group of 16-19 year olds and it’s in The Brindley in Runcorn.  I do love playing for shows and I’m lucky enough to be doing three this Summer, this one is a bit different though because I’m playing from the guitar part.  Shaun Chambers, the conductor, thought (quite rightly) that some of the melody parts would sound really good on the harp – however, it also means I have to play from guitar notation eek!  It has been so good for me though, playing from chord symbols – a bit time consuming to mark up in terms of pedals but once you get used to it it’s nice having the flexibility to slightly change what you play each time.  Usually playing harp for a show you can expect to be in five or six numbers.  I’m playing ALL THE TIME – it’s great!  Although it doesn’t leave enough time to eat my minstrels during the show.  I made friends with the brass players during the interval last night over chocolates and warm lager.  Classy.

The final show is this Saturday evening, after which I am driving straight up to Edinburgh to start the second part of the CLOUDS tour.  Someone remind me how I ever managed to fit in a day job?!

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3 Comments

  1. I love the shot of the four pedal harps all together in your lounge. You sound so much more excited about life, now that you are back doing what you love. I am impressed with your playing “off the page” – I don’t know many pedal harpists who are willing to learn works by ear and improvisation. I hope both the tour and the show are as crammed with fun as is your lounge with harps!

      1. Trying to stay cool is my main summer occupation! Also lots of knitting and playing recorders. Ensembles start back in three weeks, so I am enjoying my unscheduled time while it lasts.

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