Alison Vardy - Press
A HARP CONCERT REVIEW
Choosing the Celtic and Paraguayan harps for musical
expression, Sidney's Alison Vardy - alternating sparkling
demeanor, with impassioned mood - set them both 'afire',
with playful and masterful fingering, during her recent
Yule Tree Gallery concert.
Naturally gifted, and
emotionally drawn to the harp, self-taught Vardy began
her musical evolution in the folk tradition, while living
in rural New Zealand.
In 1993, during a sojourn
in Victoria, Australia, she soon found herself in a
luthier's workshop, where she built her own Paraguayan
harp. Made of Tasmanian blackwood with a Sitka Spruce
soundboard, it remains today one of her favourite performance
Four years later, she released her first CD Harping
On. In 1998 having returned home from the South
Pacific, she became a much sought-after harpist. Gabriolans
were to discover her through Ken Stefanson, who booked
her for this year's 'Dancing Man Festival', where she
performed at the Surf Lodge.
this trip, Vardy brought her newly-released Apasionada,
from which she selected, for the Paraguayan harp, such
diverse pieces as traditional Scotland's 'Moran's Return/Spey
in Spate'; Chile's 'La Partida'; Ireland's 'Hornby Hornpipe/Off
to California'; and her own '..Something New…!'
and 'Peace River Lullaby' from her Dawson Creek days.
Charming and elfin-like
something wonderfully medieval transits her presence.
Still, one senses she is unaware of the depth of her
talent. "I'm often inspired by a rhythm, playing
and developing it, for a year. As it evolves, it seems
to improve with snippet here and there." As her
voice trails to a near whisper, she fascinatingly engages
her listeners, "I'm always curious as to what others
Interspersing her performance with bits of humour, Vardy
tickles her audience: "When I tighten my F string,
my G string tightens!"
Sensitive and real, Vardy
tells us she likes Macedonian and Balkan music, and
loves to sing in the shower. While bicycling, she uses
handlebars to practice music, and uses 7/8 time as a
brain stretcher. "I recommend that children play
a lot of music, and learn it by singing. It goes into
Love of dancing comes
Vardy's own compositions,
'Animacion'; 'Whimsical Breeze'; which, laughingly,
she says caused her difficulty in naming, and 'Carousel',
her final piece, won much applause.
Another time, crossed
fingers, for those of us who have a passion for the
harp, it is hoped she will perform more from her Apasionada
disc, which also features music from Brittany, Israel,
Macedonia, Northumbria and sounds 'out of Africa'.
Performing regularly at corporate, community and private
events on Vancouver Island, the B.C. Mainland, and Washington
State, Vardy's obvious oneness with her harps affirms
her musical demand. With her concerts increasingly well
attended whenever she tours the Sunshine Coast, and
Northern Gulf Islands, she's not leaving out the Southern
Gulf Islands, and the Lower Mainland, where she has
a winter concert series in store for her fans.
There was something
especially magical about the evening as the Yew Tree
Gallery closed. For a moment, I stood in the parking
lot, and stared at the breathtakingly beautiful winter
moon. Not far above the lemon-gold sphere, three dazzling
stars, forming a perfect triangle, made me want to laugh,
as I pictured a beach baby wearing a three-pointed hat.
Even the smiling face of the man in the moon seemed
gentler, and happier, as he shone down on earth and
her children. Somewhere in that loving light, the music
of the harp reached heaven.
Gabriola Island BC