Deborah Henson-Conant

Telling stories with music at HipHarp.com

About

About

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The Jimi Hendrix of the harp. -Steve Vai
Dazzling harp playing, gorgeous jazz/pop singing, comic timing and impressive songwriting. -Austin American-Statesman
Reshaping the serenely Olympian harp into a jazz instrument by warping it closer to the Blues. -New York Times

Deborah Henson-Conant (“DHC”) is a GRAMMY©-Nominated one-woman orchestra. With electric harp, voice and a looper pedal that she layers sounds in real time, then weaves solo lines and vocals above it.

Her signature instrument is an 11lb carbon-fiber electric harp, designed specifically for her by the CAMAC Harp Company in France, it’s now one of the fastest-selling new harp models in the world and carries her name, the “DHC Light.”

Forget the demure harpist – forget the Classical Music — forget dozing off in the back row. Henson-Conant is a showman, entertainer and solid musician who’s been compared to musical greats from Leonard Bernstein to Elvis Presley.

Her voice is compared to Carly Simon and Joan Baez; her playing to Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix; and her humor to musical comedian Victor Borge and even Eddie Izzard.

Her shows, her life, her instrument, her workshops and her music are all about transformation — all tied together by powerful, funny, affirming stories and universal humor.

Legendary “Tonight Show” trumpeter Doc Severinsen calls her the “Wild Woman of the Harp,” iconic rock guitarist Steve Vai says she’s the “Jimi Hendrix of the Harp.” See her once and you’ll never look at a harp the same way again.

She’s toured with the Boston Pops, opened for Ray Charles at Tanglewood, jammed onstage with Bobby McFerrin and offstage with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.She’s been featured on television shows from Charlie Rose to Joan Rivers and “The View” and in two full-length PBS music specials.

Performer

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Years ago, my performing coach told me “As a performer you are an advocate for the audience. You bring them to a new world and you must be fierce about making a place for them there.”

You don’t need to know anything about harps or music to understand what I’m doing on stage. It’s essential to me that people who come to my shows need no knowledge of music or harps. What I want them to see is simply the nakedness of the instrument.

In my early 20’s I started playing Harp – you know, the big kind you see at the back of the orchestra.  Only I didn’t want to be at the back of the orchestra, I didn’t want to be sitting down and I wanted to be able to wear the instrument so I could move around and really connect with the audience.

And I wanted it to be electric so I could play any dynamic from whisper-soft to electric-guitar-loud and have the audience hear every nuance whether it was in a living room or an arena.

The more I created my own music and performed, the more I felt imprisoned behind it’s hulking beauty. When I started touring in my 30’s, and my 80 lb. harp kept getting stuck at airports, I knew I needed a truly tourable instrument.

The instrument I play today, which is custom-built for me by CAMAC Harps in France, literally allows me to stand in my power as a performer, and to connect with the audience physically.

I’ve been known as a renegade, a rule-breaker, an innovator but every step I take as a performer is towards stepping into my power for the purpose of human connection.

I’m what’s known as a performing-composer — it’s a little bit like a singer-songwriter, except some of the pieces I write are full-length theater pieces, some are concertos, and others are really just songs or tunes.

My work isn’t about a specific style, or genre. It’s about telling stories with music and about reinventing the most traditional instrument of the musical storyteller: the harp.

My work is about reinvention – the reinvention of the harp into a blah blah blah blah

Dazzling harp playing, gorgeous jazz/pop singing, comic timing and impressive songwriting. -Austin American-Statesman

Read more on the Performer page.

Composer

  Stories with Music – that’s what moves me.  Whether I’m writing dramatic song-cycles, symphonic concertos, solo works or jazz suites – there’s always a story for me.

Deborah Henson-Conant (“DHC”) is a GRAMMY©-Nominated one-woman orchestra. With electric harp, voice and a looper pedal to layer sounds in real time, then weaves solo lines and vocals above it.

Read more on the Composer page.

Innovator

  Her signature instrument is an 11 lb. carbon-fiber electric harp, designed specifically for her by the CAMAC Harp Company in France, it’s now one of the fastest-selling new harp models in the world and carries her name, the “DHC Light.”

The Jimi Hendrix of the harp. -Steve Vai
Forget the demure harpist – forget the Classical Music — forget dozing off in the back row. Henson-Conant is a showman, entertainer and solid musician who’s been compared to musical greats from Leonard Bernstein to Elvis Presley.

Her voice is compared to Carly Simon and Joan Baez; her playing to Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix; and her humor to musical comedian Victor Borge and even Eddie Izzard.

Her shows, her life, her instrument, her workshops and her music are all about transformation — all tied together by powerful, funny, affirming stories and universal humor.

Reshaping the serenely Olympian harp into a jazz instrument by warping it closer to the Blues. -New York Times

Legendary “Tonight Show” trumpeter Doc Severinsen calls her the “Wild Woman of the Harp,” iconic rock guitarist Steve Vai says she’s the “Jimi Hendrix of the Harp.” See her once and you’ll never look at a harp the same way again.

She’s toured with the Boston Pops, opened for Ray Charles at Tanglewood, jammed onstage with Bobby McFerrin and offstage with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.She’s been featured on television shows from Charlie Rose to Joan Rivers and “The View” and in two full-length PBS music specials.

Coach & Mentor

In 2012 DHC started developing and marketing her own Online School to teach improv and jazz skills to harpists worldwide. Since then over 1000 students in more than 26 countries have worked with her through her webinars and online courses. Her teaching style is accessible, personable, non-pretentious and she sometimes simply grabs the instrument and sings the lesson. Read more on the Coach & Mentor page.

Media Room

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