The Tara Minton Quartet presents: Swinging on a Harp String
Posted on 28th Oct 2023 by John Rosie
PLEASE NOTE: There is a venue change for this event - NOT OUR NORMAL VENUE!
|Loughton Baptist Church (map)
|Saturday 2nd December, 2023
|Door time: 1:00pm, Start time: 1:30pm
The harp is not renowned as a traditional jazz instrument, so we're excited to present a fascinating insight into this amazing instrument told in words and music by one of the worlds leading harpists and engaging storytellers, Ms Tara Minton.
Tara travels the world with this iconic instrument (which isn't easy!), showcasing its glorious sound, its flexibility and animating the jazz story with music from the likes of Dorothy Ashby, Alice Coltrane and others.
Supported by one of the the UK and Europe's most dynamic and literally breath-taking saxophonists, Emma Rawicz, and the driving rhythm team of Ed Babar on Bass and Dave Ingamells on Drums, be prepared for an afternoon of incredible jazz, stories and leaving this gig wanting to find out more!
“There is a palpable joy in her harp-playing, and her singing, and how she combines them” — London Jazz News
Tara hails from Melbourne, Australia. Her parents ran a bookmakers’ and were not musicians themselves, but they urged her on in her musical quest. Piano was the first discovery, when she was four years old, stumbling across one in the spare room of a mother’s friend. Piano lessons started when she was seven, augmented by voice coaching and a brief jaunt learning flute. Then, at ten, came the harp: “my burden, my prison, my wings!”
She held such promise at this young age: A clean sweep of school talent competitions. A music scholarship won to a fine school. Everyone was fascinated by her harp playing, but Tara was by this point a formidable pianist. At fifteen, a few years ahead of her contemporaries, she performed Rachmaninov’s fiendish ‘Prelude in C Sharp Minor’ at the school music gala. Then beckoned The Ballarat Academy of Performing Arts for an undergrad in Musical Theatre. As Tara says: “I learned to sing. Really sing. I also learned to be comfortable just ‘being’ in front of an audience’.
Presumably this stood her in good stead when twelve years later, in May 2018, Tara accompanied Björk on Later… with Jools Holland and toured with her to headline Primavera Sounds in Barcelona. Of this she remarks, drolly, “it turns out playing to a crowd of 40,000 is much less terrifying than playing to a jazz audience at the 606!” But her Björk collaboration is a reminder of Tara’s uniqueness as an artist, her ability to span genres and musical worlds with her harp. Fittingly, Tara feels it her mission to “unleash the harp and its potential from the confines of the ‘harp bubble’ and release it into the wider world of music.” And, in this, the roll-call of artists with which she has worked speaks for itself: Björk, Miranda Mulholland, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Tom Walker, SuRie, Tony Kofi, Paul Lee. There are many more.
A harpist must be seated to play, but Tara never sits still for long. In 2019 she completed her academic journey with a Masters’ degree in jazz performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In February 2020, she toured with Miranda Mulholland to Mexico, then mere days later succeeded in reaching the finals of the World Harp Competition in Utrecht (sadly postponed at the time of writing due to COVID-19). Oh, and composed and recorded a brand new album.
Tom Nancollas, Author (abridged)
Read more about Tara Minton