Hugo, Martha and My Quest for a South American Harp!

The album was called, “Caribia”. I recall hearing it at a very early age and loving it. It wasn’t until much later in life that I discovered the main instrument used on it was a Venezuelan Harp. It was played by Hugo Blanco and he was also the composer of most of the music on the album. I also loved looking at that cover as a child…

When I got deeper into writing my upcoming album, “The Tropical Dream”, I knew that I wanted to write one piece featuring harp, like Hugo Blanco. Easier said than done! I soon discovered that finding a traditional harpist from South America was not going to be happening in Ottawa. I didn’t want an orchestral harpist. I wanted someone who had lived that music and learned to play that particular kind of harp.

I decided to try out LinkedIn. I found a lady who lived in Toronto but grew up in Uruguay and had been playing Paraguayan Harp since she was a young girl. Perfect! I listened to some of her wonderful playing and reached out to her. We then had an interesting and enjoyable two hour conversation! I think we both felt a mutual respect for each other’s work and we agreed that we would collaborate on my piece.

Despite quite a few setbacks and delays on both sides (including a burned finger she suffered while making caramel!), the recording session for her harp recently took place in Toronto, engineered by her friend, Kiki Martinez. Her performance was recorded there and sent back to my engineer to place into the track with all of the other instruments. What you will eventually hear is the beautiful result. Great work, Martha!

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