Monday, 27 January 2014

Our Musical Journey

My husband Phil and I set up home together in Canada 25 years ago.  Little did I know where this move from England would take me!

Before leaving England, I had delved into the art of Ceramics and then my Canadian life gave me the opportunity to become a multi-media artist and a jewelry designer and creator.  It also brought the joy of making music to my soul.  I had no formal musical training and decided to begin by trying to learn the piano and flute, followed very quickly by the discovery of the harp.  

Phil has been playing guitar for many years, first in rock bands in the 60's and then on to classical and acoustic guitar in more recent years.  He has also dabbled in piano and will be doing more of that for our next CD (hopefully soon!).

We were on a visit to Lake Placid in New York and went into a cafe for coffee.  A CD was playing and it fascinated us.  Well, of course, we bought a copy - it was by Loreena McKennitt.  I knew right away that I wanted to learn to play the harp and so with a 29 String Tat Stanley celtic harp, I began my journey (passage).

It has been 14 years now and I have owned many different harps.  Currently, I have five.  They range from a Triplett small lap harp, through Triplett Celtic Lever, Kortier Electric Acoustic, Triplett wire and finally my Russian made Selena concert pedal harp.  

 I began my harp learning journey with a book and VHS video from Sylvia Woods, this was invaluable for me and allowed me to learn at my own pace.  Much later I was able to take a couple of lessons with Sharlene Wallace, a wonderfully talented, Canadian harp player - amazing!!

During my piano, flute and harp early years I met two ladies through my work who encouraged me to join them to form the trio, Avalon (this was a recording made at an outside event at Fulford Place Museum in Brockville).  We played at a number of different events - boy, was that scary for me!  Then Phil joined us with his acoustic guitar playing.  It was such a joy for us to play together with this group and we are still playing with them today.  
My newest harp -
a wire strung by Triplett

A few years ago Phil and I decided to form our own duo - Harpeggia and we have been lucky enough to be invited to play at local events.  I'm always so very nervous, but I'm not doing too badly for an untrained musician!  I hear that the more you play at events the less nervous you are.  Hmmmm, not so far!

Recording Artists!

I retired from my career as an Executive Assistant in 2012 and so 2013 was my first year of being able to do whatever I wanted to, when I wanted to.  Quite the experience! Anyway towards the end of the summer we wanted to record Harpeggia playing to see what we sounded like.  This grew into a monster when we discovered Garageband on my Apple Laptop.  What a great App.  Well, it took some struggling with techie stuff and we had to buy a new gidget to ensure the harp was recorded well, but we finally had enough pieces down to make into a CD.  Phil also added some tracks from our keyboard as well as guitar.  We did all the artwork, photographs and layout ourselves, as well as recording the CD's and packaging them.  The final result was great - we still listen to the CD and can't believe it is ours!  Check out the first track from the CD on youtube

This is the sleeve note from the CD:

Both of us have celtic roots and have been enjoying this music all of our lives.  In fact, it was Celtic music that inspired Lea to learn to play the harp and Phil to rekindle his love for the acoustic guitar.

We are so very proud of this, our very first CD. Parallel Passage is how we see our journey from teenagers to retirees, with a love for music and each other.

A huge thank you to all our family and friends for their encouragement and belief in our dreams.

This CD is dedicated to a feisty, Scottish lady (Lea's Mum) Barbara Stuart Cairns Cummings MacLean Darley, who would have been so proud of us.

The moral of this story is 
that it is never too late to realize your dreams!