The harp I have today has shrunk from an ornate 75lb, 6-foot tall musical edifice into an 11-pound carbon fibre powerhouse I can strap on with a simple harness.
Not quite a pocket-sized baby grand, but close enough, right? And she’s confident that this will push the instrument in a whole new direction:
My vision of the instrument had been so strong from the beginning that now that I finally have it, it seems self-evident to me. It’s taken other people to point out that I’m in the midst of an historical moment with this instrument. It’s like living through the ’40s when Les Paul made the first electric guitar — only this is the first commercially produced carbon fibre electric harp.
Not that she’s comparing herself to Les Paul or anything. And there were electric guitars before Paul; it’s just that they were basically acoustic guitars with pickups, which presented problems with feedback and couldn’t do anything resembling sustain. Alan Stivell made a Paul-esque solid-body electric harp some twenty years ago, but it didn’t really fit into his traditional Celtic/Breton repertoire. French harpmaker Camac took up the cause, and they’re offering a signature Deborah Henson-Conant model. Think of it as the harp equivalent of the Gibson Les Paul.
(If you wonder how I happened upon this lady and her music, read this.)