On Saturday 7th February 2015, Darth Vader, Doctor Who & James Bond walk down the aisle together in harpist Shelley Fairplay”s harp concert ‘The Three Strands,’ at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Shelley aims to show the harp to be an instrument that both harks back to an ancient tradition and is moving forwards with the times. This is reflected in “The Three Strands” concert were she performs a diverse range of musical styles using traditional harp-play techniques and also amplification, looper pedal, effect pedals and an amazing electro lever harp that she wears and walk around with!
The concert combines many music genres including Celtic, Classical and Flamenco to Doctor Who and Starwars. The program includes musical vignettes from her life, a suite of dance tunes that streams from Tchaikovsky to La Bamba called: ‘Tchaikovsky dances with friends’– and the show ends with her own interpretation of Deborah Henson Conants (a Grammy-nominated composer, performer and the world’s leading electric harpist, based in Boston, USA) fiery harp showcase, ‘Baroque Flamenco.’
Her ‘Wedding Remix’ sequence is a series of three motifs – based on real-life events – in which Shelley, as a wedding harpist, found creative ways to accommodate musical requests of the couples she played for – including the groom who wanted to pace the aisle to the Darth Vader Theme, the couple who fell in love to Dr. Who, and the man, whose name being ‘Bond’ wanted – you guessed it – the James Bond theme. She presents, in music and story, a perspective that only SHE could give us – in this case, her life and experience playing hundreds of weddings throughout the UK, with a personal mission of creating a deeply personalized musical experience for each couple.
‘Rally of the Riffs’ brings together pop and rock riffs on electro harp, as Shelley explains how the “riffs” or “hooks” from songs are often what really draw us in to a song, the piece uses a number of famous riffs including Greenday”s “Good riddance” and Elbow”s “One day like this” alongside her own original material.
The name of the show, ‘The Three Strands’ refers to an age-old Celtic tale that each harper must master three musical strands in order to truly serve humanity. The details of each strand differ in every story. In Shelley”s version, it”s the strands of passion, sorrow and joy. But in every tale, these strands are always played by a harpist, and they always encompass the human experience. The idea of these three strands really connects with Shelley as expressing emotion through music and connecting with an audience is what performing is all about.
Shelley explains that this is a tradition that”s not about “traditional music,” but a tradition of expression. Exploring this through the harp, every musician can create a completely unique style.
If you”re anywhere near Cardiff this weekend, come along to catch her show at 7pm on Saturday 7th of February at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Tickets available by calling 02920 221199 or online via: www.harpwales.com/threestrands – it”s part of an entire weekend of events at the Camac Harp Weekend where harpists are travelling from across the UK to participate in workshops, master classes and concerts. Full details available via: www.camacharps.co.uk.