The harp that I play is a Lyon & Healy Style 30 – Natural finish.
Here it is pictured at a gig I was doing this New Year in Sheffield. I adore this harp, I have had it for nearly two years now. It has 47 strings and 7 pedals, and weighs around 36kg.
To transport it I have a large estate car with the back seats almost permanently laid flat. So to wheel it around I need a trolley – and stairs present quite an issue, especially if there are a lot of them!
I quite often need to ask people for help while moving the harp, which is not always such a bad thing, it’s a good ice-breaker and a way of meeting someone new (it also makes sense to ask the man who looks like he’s the strongest/fittest to help me, I don’t mind that so much – for obvious reasons!)
Maybe this is part of the reason harpists have a reputation for being divas. If you ask us to play on an upper floor and there is no lift, we will be annoyed, likewise if we are asked to play outside, next to a radiator or a fire, or anywhere that is freezing or too warm. It’s bad for the harp!
The question I’m most often asked when I’m out and about with my harp is, ‘how much does it cost?’ to which I usually reply ‘it’s not for sale’. But if you are looking for a harp like this, you’re looking at the £18,000 area. People say to me ‘why don’t you sell it and buy an amazing car/holiday/deposit on a flat/whatever’. That is to me like saying ‘why don’t you sell your left leg?’ Well, yes I could live without it if I had to. But why would I want to?