Press Release: Run through Oct. 8, 2022
Grammy-Nominated vocalist and electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant (“DHC”) travels the world with the instrument she invented – the “DHC Electric Harp” – but it all started for her at “The Celebration Barn” in South Paris, ME where she first came as a student of the Barn’s founder, Tony Montanaro, 3 decades ago.
She returns to her creative roots in a solo appearance Sat. Oct 8 at 7:30pm, at Celebration Barn Theater.
Tickets – Adults: $30 / Seniors $20 / Kids $10 – Link to Tix Here
“I started out playing a 6-foot-tall, 80-pound instrument that was difficult to get around and hard to hear” explains DHC. “Welcome to the world of the concert harp in the 80’s.” By the time she met Tony in the mid-80’s, she was already becoming the nation’s top jazz-harpist, learning to amplify the concert harp and struggling to to travel the world with her huge – and delicate – instrument.
Frustrated by the harp’s limitations and the ways it limited her physically, she did something that started the transformation of both her instrument AND herself: She packed her big harp in the car and headed north to Maine, where she had heard of an instructor, Tony Montanaro, who taught “Physical Eloquence” – the art of physical story-telling, with voice, body – and – everything.
DHC, “As I watched Tony use his body like an instrument – I learned how to make my own awkward instrument into a part of my body. And when I whined about the prejudices and stereotypes people have about the harp, Tony just looked at me and said, ‘The harp is the instrument of the storyteller. Tell your stories’.”
After Tony taught her to be more physical with her harp, Henson-Conant knew more than ever that her vision of a truly portable harp had to be realized. So she traveled to France and described it to the head of the world’s cutting-edge harp manufacturer, CAMAC. He loved the idea. The result is the world’s leading electric harp, named after her, the “DHC” eletric harp, an 11-pound carbon-fibre instrument she wears. She’s the world’s leading player and coach of this innovative instrument.
Click here to watch DHC’s TEDx Talk “Reinventing Freedom with Electric Harp” where she retells her journey to shrink the harp.
Fast forward to 2022: She uses a looper pedal to layer sounds and create rhythmic grooves and improvises over them with her “DHC-Light”. She combines styles and genres, focusing on styles that offer opportunities for physical expression — like Blues, Flamenco and theater-inspired music. “All my work is about invention – on the spot, in the moment – and the combination of story and music with physical gesture you can actually hear” she says.
This physical expression is something she learned at the Celebration Barn, studying with Tony Montanaro.
You can read more about Tony’s influence on DHC HERE https://hipharp.com/blog/10921
This intimate New England appearance is a chance to see the master of an instrument she conceived, up-close and personal – just hands, harp, looper-pedal, voice – and pure invention, on the spot where she learned to be free with her instrument, The Celebration Barn Theater stage.
WHO: Deborah Henson-Conant LIVE! At the Barn!
WHEN: Sat. Oct 8, 2022 at 7:30pm
WHERE: The Celebration Barn Theater, 190 Stock Farm Road, South Paris, ME 04281
TIX INFO: $30 general admission, $20 seniors, $10 children
BOX OFFICE: (207) 743-8452