How Dorothy Ashby inspired me to find my own voice
I was asked to write some words about Dorothy Ashby, and her influence on me, re our forthcoming gig this Sunday 4th June @ Total Refreshment Centre
“For me, there has been no other harp player like Dorothy Ashby who has shown the versatility and potential of the harp, and turned heads! I still find it interesting however when you mention her name, how many people holler a resounding YES!, whilst many others look blankly who's Dorothy?! In my opinion, Dorothy plays the harp like nobody else. She plays with a totally different feel and attack: it's not the notes she plays necessarily, but the way she plays.
“Despite the harp being strongly perceived as a background or classical instrument which could only produce pretty or ethereal sounds, (a stereotype which from my experience still exists today), Dorothy confronted this head on, fought her corner and valiantly took the harp into another realm. She showed everyone the harp could be a lead, improvising instrument and be given its own place alongside the more traditional, established instruments such as saxophone and piano etc. Dorothy also played piano, saxophone and bass apparently over the years. She is probably most well known for her album 'Afro Harping' and also played with the likes of Stevie Wonder on his album 'Songs in the Key of Life',
“From a personal perspective, Dorothy Ashby's music was one of the main inspirations for me to keep going at a time when I felt disenchanted with the harp. She helped me see that you could find your own voice and sound, and showed me how versatile the harp could be. A force that still inspires me today and is at the centre of my ethos and what I hope to give to other up and coming artists in turn - to be yourself!
“Dorothy Ashby should be in everyone's record collection - especially for those who assume they don't like harp! I hope our interpretations of her pieces will help to shine more light on her truly invaluable gift to the world.”
Come see us live 4th June @Total Refreshment Centre