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An Interview With The Harp Twins

Harp Twins resized

I would like to welcome Camille and Kennerly, known as the Harp Twins and their music is unique and amazing! I was listening to their music on their YouTube channel and I was struck by the dynamic way their compositions for harp were created. I think many people assume the harp is always a soft, gentle and light instrument. Indeed, it can be but Camille and Kennerly have shown that the harp can be much more. From playing renditions from epic scores like The Lord of the Rings, Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter, the Rains of Castamere, to Metallica, they are truly changing how the harp is perceived in music.

1. After having studied at a prestigious music school what made both of you decide take an independent turn in music as opposed to playing in an orchestra or a traditional classical music ensemble?

We have spent a LOT of time playing and performing classical music and we still love the classical genre. However, even while we were harp performance majors, we always felt like the harp could be so much more. Harp has been relegated to a background or orchestral instrument for basically all of its history. The only harpists that seem to have ever broken that barrier are singers – which means that the harp still is a background instrument because the vocals carry the melody and the harp part becomes simplified and not as significant. We wanted to play the kind of music that we wanted to play without being confined to the same music that harpists have been playing for centuries. We wanted to wear what we wanted to wear and not be relegated to the long skirts and sensible heels of the classical harpist. We wanted to break barriers, cross genres, and take the harp to where it has never been before – in every way! Our radical Duet Harp Revolution is our way of showing the world that we can make the harp rock. We never expected that there would be a niche for harps playing rock music, but we seemed to have created one! We don’t want the harp to define us. We want to define the harp.

2. What makes you decide to arrange a certain song or piece of music? What is it about a particular piece that attracts you?

Some of our covers are songs that were specifically requested for live performances, many are top fan requested songs, and some are songs that we choose for fun. We love the challenge of taking a song usually performed by an entire rock band or orchestra and making it “work” on just two harps – no overlays, loops, or backtracks. There is something very beautiful to us to strip a song down to its essence and build again from there. It’s exciting to bring new life to a piece and make it “our own”. We have found that we can cover anything as long as it has a melody.

3. Do either one of you collaborate with other artists/musicians?

So far, we’ve only collaborated with other musicians for school or work. We’re not opposed to working with other artists, but we’re generally hired as a duo. We work so well as our own team and people hire us because of the uniqueness of who we are and what we do. We would love to play with a rock band some day. That would
be a lot of fun!

4. Why did you both choose the harp, instead of violin, piano, etc.? What is it about this particular instrument that drew both of you?Harp-Twins-2smaller

Harp has always seemed like a magical instrument to us. There is no other instrument like the harp. We always found the sound of the harp more pleasing to the ear than bowed string instruments (like the violin, etc) – there is something about the plucked tone that truly sounds enchanted. We started playing harp in middle school after we had already been playing piano for years. It took us a while to convince our mom that we were serious about learning the harp. We had to show that we were serious by earning some of the money ourselves. We babysat, walked dogs, and did office work to earn the money for our first harps, which were pre-owned. We think that having to earn the “right” to play our instrument really gave us a deep love and appreciation for it. We didn’t practice because someone chose the harp for us, we practiced because we chose the harp for ourselves.

5. What is a composing session like for both of you. Walk us through the process of choosing a song or a piece of music, arranging it, performing and recording it.

We always start our creative process by listening to the song we’re going to arrange again and again. We usually start with building the melodic framework and then start discussing other elements. Often we’re tweaking arrangements even as we’re learning and memorizing when we think of ideas to try, or figuring out techniques/patterns/etc., that work even better that our original ideas. The time frame for arranging a piece varies a lot since we’re always working on many songs simultaneously. It usually takes a few days to arrange a song and learning/memorizing the music takes varying amounts of time. We discuss ideas for a video concept, location, etc., and then work hard to find locations that are perfect for each video. We film each video in a couple of hours and video editing usually takes a few days. We’re always working on lots of new music. We put our whole hearts into each arrangement and video. We’re so proud of where we have gotten with no production team, crew, professional videographer, recording studio, editor, etc. Every aspect of our productions are thoroughly planned by us and implemented to the best of our ability.

6. Did both of you decide together to embark on this career or did one of you come to it first?

While we were in Conservatory, we sat down and discussed what we would do if we knew we were guaranteed to succeed at anything. We both agreed that the answer was performing together – and performing the music that we wanted to play in the way we wanted to play it. So we followed our dream. We have always had musician/performer personalities, but we also found that we had a knack for creating, arranging, producing, etc. Playing harp and performing together has really been an organic progression in our lives. We love music, we love harp, we love out-of-the-box thinking and we love creating music together. Our career is really us taking the things we love and putting them all together.

7. How did you come to work with the company Harpsicle/Reese Harps? What kind of work did you do with them?

We had heard a lot of great things about Harpsicle/Rees Harps over the last few years, but had never had the chance to try one of their harps. When the opportunity came up recently to not only try out their harps, but also to team-up with them, we were very excited! The wonderful people at Rees Harps create these amazingly lightweight, affordable, and beautiful sounding harps called Harpsicles and they were lovely enough to create two custom metallic blue Harpsicle Harps for us. Our goal with Harpsicle/Rees Harps is show the world what can be done with small, affordable harps. So much of the population views the harp as an unattainable or extinct instrument – and the harp really has been “left behind” in a way. Even “classical” instruments like violin and cello have been used in rock and pop music for decades. We love having the opportunity to bring harp to the mainstream and we’re very honored to team-up with the amazing people at Harpsicle/Rees Harps.

8. What up coming projects will you two be working on next?

We recently simultaneously released 2 cover albums: Harp Fantasy and Harp Attack. Our Harp Fantasy CD features 14 of our movie and TV soundtrack, anime, and video game covers, and our Harp Attack CD features 14 of our rock and metal covers. We have been so grateful for the amazing response to our two debut cover albums and as a result, are currently in the planning stages of another cover album of a different genre. We also hope to release some original music. This is exciting for us because although we regularly perform our original music live, we have never released recordings of it. We are also working on some upcoming videos that we’re very excited about. Our fans have been asking for a new Iron Maiden cover, so that is in process. We also have some new fantasy/gaming videos coming. This year definitely has a lot of exciting things in store! Thank you so much for your interest in our radical Duet Harp Revolution!

Camille and Kennerly’s most recent albums are Harp Attack and Harp Fantasy.

Harp Attack album track list:

1. “Fear of the Dark” – Iron Maiden
2. “Send Me An Angel” – Scorpions
3. “Nothing Else Matters” – Metallica
4. “Paint It Black” – The Rolling Stones
5. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult
6. “It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi
7. “Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple
8. “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd
9. “Zombie” – The Cranberries
10. “With Or Without You” – U2
11. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
12. “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC
13. “Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
14. “Dream On” – Aerosmith

Harp Fantasy track list:

1. Game of Thrones Main Title
2. Star Trek Main Title
3. Misty Mountains (from “The Hobbit”)
4. Mario: Rainbow Road / Dire Dire Docks
5. Doctor Who Theme
6. The Rains of Castamere (from “Game of Thrones”)
7. Saint Seiya: Mime’s Requiem / Abel’s Harp
8. The Walking Dead Theme
9. Final Fantasy: Prelude / To Zanarkand
10. Silent Hill: Promise (Reprise) / Not Tomorrow
11. The Legend of Zelda: Ballad of the Goddess
12. Hedwig’s Theme (from “Harry Potter”)
13. Skyrim Main Theme (Dragonborn)
14. Lord of the Rings Medley

You can find out more about the Harp Twins, their music and upcoming projects at their website and YouTube channel:

Website: http://www.harptwins.com/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/CamilleandKennerly

CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/camilleandkennerly37

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/camilleandkennerly38

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CamilleandKennerly

victorialadybug (V. A. Jeffrey) is a fantasy and science fiction author. She also loves music, art, history, cooking, baking, fermenting stuff, comic book movies and nearly anything Tolkien related. Her biggest writing inspirations are Shakespeare, Frank Herbert and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

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