January’s Camac voice is the exhilarating finale to a substantial work for harp quartet, commissioned and performed by the British ensemble 4 Girls 4 Harps. This work, ‘Saraswati’ by Edward Longstaff, is inspired by Saraswati the Hindu goddess of music (as well as of knowledge, art, science and technology). She is usually depicted with four arms, portrayed here by the four harp parts. For this recording, 4 Girls 4 Harps added a tabla line, from Sanju Sahai, to emphasise the work’s powerful rhythmic quality as well as its Indian influences.
Sometimes, the quartet performs on matching pearlescent white Camac electric harps (which they commissioned from Camac in 2005). They use them for jazz or film music arrangements - such as music from James Bond, The Exorcist, The Wizard of Oz and Twilight!
You can order 4 Girls 4 Harps’s CDs here, find details of their concerts here, and follow them on their blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. Can’t get to a concert? Enjoy the videos on their YouTube channel, here. If you are interesting in getting hold of scores, you can buy some of Eleanor Turner's arrangements and compositions via her sheet music store, and you can contact Harriet through her website to ask about her work.
The review in the Lichfield Gazette quoted above begins like this: “4 Girls 4 Harps” was what it said on the poster, and four girls with four harps was exactly what we saw on stage at the Lichfield Garrick. That was it: no gimmicks, no stunts, no fancy costumes beyond elegant evening wear – just engaging chat and rather lovely music.” They are a great example of an ensemble that knows what it’s doing and does it very well. They are serious about the quality of their performance and the musical integrity of their arrangements, and realise that this does not exclude having fun with lighter music, adding other sound effects, or performing for a wide range of audiences.