Jazzharp. org newsletter - April 2017 - Jazz Harp Academy special
Hello everyone,

It's time for a Jazz Harp Academy special!
In 2016, we enjoyed two exceptional editions: the 10-day
Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion in collaboration with Cristina Braga, and the 3-day Jazz Harp Academy in The Netherlands, in conjunction with the Dutch Harp Festival & Open Harp Day.
We would like to share these experiences here with you, and give you a heads up about the upcoming editions.
We loved reading Eléonore's report and Maria's interview with Charles Overton, both describing how to carve out a path for yourself as a harpist with jazz aspirations.
Enjoy, get inspired, and mark your calendars!

Save the date: Upcoming editions in Brazil and The Netherlands
For the love of music: Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion 2016
Three-fold and triple-sized: Jazz Harp Academy 2016
The perfect trigger: Eléonore Niubo's jazz harp quest
Eat, breathe, live and sleep jazz: An interview with Charles Overton
Upcoming on the Jazzharp .org Global Jazz Harp Calendar
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Before we start off about the incredible courses, teachers, students and friendships that marked last year, let's pull our calendars and plan ahead:
We are committed to spread the art of Jazz Harp to all continents, and we invite you to join us in the hemisphere of your choice - or both!

19-29 July, 2018 - Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion, by Cristina Braga and the JHF
11-13 October, 2019 - Jazz Harp Academy in The Netherlands
Jazz Harp Academy with Cristina Braga stardust

At the invitation of Cristina Braga, the Jazz Harp Foundation set out to collaborate with her on a most memorable Academy edition: the Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion. A 10-day intensive jazz harp course in the lush settings of Uaná Etê, Cristina and Ricardo's ecological garden and retreat in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.
The faculty of this first edition consisted of harpists Carol Robbins, Felice Pomeranz and Cristina Braga, saxophone player Kurt Schwab, and bass player Ricardo Medeiros. Their incredible teaching, the generous hospitality of Cristina, Ricardo and their staff, the harmonious collaboration in organization, and of course the enormous effort and camaradery of the students, made this an unforgettable and in some cases life-changing course.
"The vibe was one of sharing and an intense love for music of many genres - jazz, blues and of course, Brazilian music styles."
- Felice Pomeranz

Jazz harmony, melodic workouts, bassline workouts, percussion class, Brazilian styles and rhythms, private lessons and ensemble classes were alternated with sunrise walks, dance and singing classes, jazz listening, discussions, presentations of local heritage music & dance, a true lindy hop ball and appropriate birthday celebrations.
On top of that, we had the pleasure of hosting the young harp pupils of the local PIM Institute (Project for Integration through Music). They had their own mini-immersion, improvising and swinging it with 3 days of playful lessons by Sabine and Brenda (watch the video here).
So... we're pretty sure you want to go back in time by now and attend if you didn't;) No worries, have a look at www.jazzharp.org/uana-ete to catch more of the vibe, start saving, and join us in 2018!
in collaboration with the Dutch Harp Festival, and the Dutch harp & folk harp societies

Another unique edition of the Jazz Harp Academy, the key words here were Big and Intensive. The venue, the artist line-up, the organisational effort, the sheer amount of workshops: in this 3-way collaboration everything was triple-sized.
The activities were 3-fold:
1. The established 3-day intensive course, with an outstanding faculty consisting of Kurt Schwab and Park Stickney, complemented with presentations by Laura Perrudin, Arnaud Roy and Benjamin Creighton Griffiths, and topped off by a great and supportive rhythm section for the combo lessons. Students came from 6 European countries and took their freshly acquired inspiration, jazz knowledge and newly developing abilities back to London, Paris, Detmold, Moscow, Birmingham, and various Dutch cities.
2. An extensive workshop programme breathing the Dutch Harp Festival theme "Harps without Borders", and hosting the annual Open Harp Day of the Dutch harp and folk harp societies as well.
17 different workshops formed a total of 5 itineraries: Jazz, Improv, Kids, All Musicians, and Pop&Rock. Subjects varied from 'Free improv', 'Folk improv' and 'Baroque improv' to 'Rock harp' and from 'Playing your own Pink Panther' to 'Jazz for classical musicians' and a 'Sound design laboratory'.
Our great line up of workshop teachers included the intensive course faculty Kurt Schwab and Park Stickney, as well as Laura Perrudin, Lena Woods, Savourna Stevenson, Sivan Magen, Joost Buis, Arnaud Roy, Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths, Carina Backhuijs, Constance Allanic, Habiba Doorenbos, and Annelies Kole.
3. The simultaneously running Dutch Harp Festival, curated by festival director Remy van Kesteren, with more than 30 performances in 1,5 day including a rave jazz programming in collaboration with the Jazz Harp Foundation, headlining festival reviews for good reasons. Praise goes to Park Stickney, Charles Overton, Laura Perrudin, Lena Woods and her band, Arnaud Roy and Adrien, and Ben Creighton Griffiths for their outstanding performances and presentations. Together with many other festival artists, they have been a great inspiration to all of us, and the Jazz Harp Academy students in particular.
"Another big dream of mine came true with the participation of the Jazz Harp Academy! It was such an inspirational weekend which I will never forget. I was meeting harpists from all over the world, having daily jazz sessions with Park Stickney and Kurt Schwab, learning a lot about jazz and how to deliver it through the harp, playing in a jazz band trio, getting inspired by the young jazz artists - Laura Perrudin, Ben Griffiths and Charles Overton, listening to many fantastic harp concerts of the Dutch Harp Festival, and many more. The 'Jazz Harp' was just everywhere at TivoliVredenburg. I had an incredible time at Utrecht sharing the love of jazz and the harp with so many other passionate harpists and musicians. Looking forward to the next one!" - Tsvetselina Likova
We will be back with another Jazz Harp Academy in The Netherlands in 2019. We intend this to be a profound and passionate, pure and all-inclusive jazz harp community event! Stay tuned...;)
Eléonore Niubo's jazz harp quest

I have been playing the harp since I was 6 years old, and, as far as I can remember, I never wanted to do anything else.
When I was 17, struggling with my harp studies and with the cliché of a long haired harpist playing romantic music in a long glittery dress, I discovered Dorothy Asby's jazz harp album «The Fantastic Harp Of Dorothy Ashby».
I didn't even know jazz harp was a thing, but I knew that was my thing already!

In 2012, I had the chance to meet Sabine Meijers and Brenda Dor-Groot during a Summer harp workshop taking place in Italy, and for five days in a row we had blues and improvisation discoveries.
It is never easy, as a harpist, to find people you can learn jazz from. Other instrumentalists never really get our pedal system, and when I learned there was a Jazz Harp Foundation, I understood that I could find support there.
One year ago, after almost quitting playing a few times, I saw the Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion call for applications, and I saw in it a new opportunity to finally be able to do what I really wanted to.

I can't even relate how these ten days opened my mind and helped me in my search of jazz playing.
Besides the wonderful place the workshop took place in, I had the chance of meeting amazing people. We were with a dozen students, and besides Brenda and Sabine heading up the course, we had Cristina Braga, Carol Robbins, and Felice Pomeranz as jazz harp teachers, three wonderful jazz harpists, just for us, for ten days! Listening to us, giving advise, lots of hints and suggestions, and explaining how they got to this point. Not to mention our daily training with saxophonist Kurt Schwab as our jazz harmony teacher. After just ten days, I had a totally different understanding of jazz music, and was able to play in a completely new jazz way I couldn't have dreamt of before.
Of course, you don't become a jazz musician in two weeks, and it takes a lot of time and hard work to get were you want to be. For me, the BJHI was the perfect trigger I needed at this point.
In October 2016, I participated at the Jazz Harp Academy again, in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Three more days of intensive lessons and workshops, once again headed up by Sabine and Brenda, with Kurt as harmony teacher and band leader, and with the amazing Park Stickney. One of the greatest things in this curriculum is the opportunity to improvise with others. We all know that the harp is not an easy intrument to move, and it's great to have a rhythm section right there and willing to play along with you. You also learn to understand the importance of good comping and the necessity of listening to others, and share the music. Of course you can find the same feeling playing chamber music or in orchestras, but here it increases in fabulous ways. The way the classes are set up to allow everyone to play, and your level or your goals don't matter. The experience is always worth it!

As I was saying above, it takes a lot of work to get where you want to, and for my part I know I'm just beginning my jazz education. The BJHI last year also enabled me to reach other objectives, and I'm glad to say that just a month ago I got a scholarship to go to a Summer jazz programm at Berklee College of Music in Boston with jazz instrumentalists from all around the world. Clearly, that wouldn't have be possible without the Jazz Harp Academy and the unceasing support of all these teachers.

If, like me, you want to learn jazz harp as a long-term project, or if you're just jazz curious, I'm sure you'll find your place in one of the Jazz Harp Foundation's academies.
Youtube: Eléonore plays Cherokee
With both Jazz Harp Academies freshly in the pocket, Eléonore developed her jazz playing even further as she prepared her succesful audition for a scholarship to support her participation in the Berklee Five Week Summer Performance Program.
Here's her version of Cherokee for you to enjoy:
An interview with Charles Overton

Our previous interview was with Felice Pomeranz, one of the teachers in our 2016 Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion, and Professor of Harp at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. One of her recently graduated students is Charles Overton.
She mentioned him to us in 2015 already, and we were so impressed with his playing that we intently included him in our recommendation for the jazz programming of the Dutch Harp Festival, which took place in conjunction with our Jazz Harp Academy last October.

He was there, and he blew us away! What an incredible and gifted jazz harpist. There is a handful of jazz harpists who made, and make, an exceptional difference in the development of the harp in jazz, and we already believe Charles to be one of them.
And that is important, as these harpists are needed to show the potential of our instrument to both future players and audiences:
"The first jazz harpist I listened to was Park Stickney. Monika Stadler and Lori Andrews were also jazz harpists I got some exposure to. It was listening to them that made me realize that jazz was possible on the harp."

And the Jazz Harp Foundation aims to extend and intensify that exposure for as many people as possible.
Maria Fox from the UK was a student at both the Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion and the Jazz Harp Academy in The Netherlands, and has just been admitted to Berklee to start her undergraduate studies in the upcoming academic year.
She called Charles for an interview and asked him about his activities and what got him there, including of course, his time at Berklee.

"There’s no school out there like it – especially as a harpist to get the opportunities and connections."

Read the full interview here:
* all concert images courtesy of Dutch Harp Festival and Jeroen Berends, photographer

21 April - Harp Bazaar, Gypsy Swing with Tara Minton @ToulouseLautrec, London
22 April - Colliding Strings, Park Stickney & Fabrice Pierre @Seduced by Harps
23 April - 2nd London Jazz Harp Jam @The Junction, Brixton, London
4 May - Stina Hellberg Agback/Jonas Isaksson @Omnikvariatet, Uppsala
5 May - Gypsy & Swing with Ben Creighton Griffiths @Acapela, Cardiff

Full listings at
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We aim to be your jazz harp source today! Through our newsletter, our website and facebook page, by email response and live, we want to share a range of opportunities for all levels.
Do you have info to share that we might not know about yet? Check in with us and your peers in the
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Jazz Harp Foundation website: www.jazzharp.org