The clichéd image of the harp and harpists will be so familiar to most of Harpblog's readers that I won't describe it again. It's such a cliché that even "I want to dispell the cliché of the beautiful girl playing the harp etc. etc." has become clichéd.
Clichés are a funny mixture. Dulled by over-use, nonetheless they wouldn't exist without some basis in truth. And those who find themselves, like harpists, in particularly cliché-strewn fields, can't just throw them aside either. Whether you want to make use of them - to boost your wedding business, for example - or get away from them, they're hard to ignore.
The German pop harpist and singer (all her songs are in English), MarieMarie, knows about cliché. Her own music is “folctronic”, fusing elements of electronic music, like techno and dubstep, with folk, acoustic instruments and original, thoughtful lyrics. It’s music which is very much her own, for all that isn't as self-evident as it sounds. "The whole reason I started to write songs with the harp was to get away from cliché", she explains. "I started with a standard rock band combination. There's nothing wrong with rock if that's where you find yourself as an artist. But when you're desparate to escape a cliché, simply taking the most opposite direction you can think of isn't, in itself, any better. After a while I thought, this is no good - I don't like harp clichés, but equally I feel like I'm forcing the harp to sound not like a harp for artificial reasons. I might not be acting like a harpist, but I still feel like I'm pretending to be someone else."