“It pushes the boundaries,” says Catrin Finch. “It’s not really harp-based at all, so it’s a bit of a gamble.” She’s describing her lock-down collaboration with the Cardiff-based electronic musician and producer Lee House. “What I’m trying to do in this next phase of my career, is maybe move away from being solely a harpist.”
A bit of a departure for some perhaps, but for Catrin Finch, known chiefly as the most gifted classical harp virtuoso of her generation, making an album with “an Ibiza chill-out kind of vibe” is more than a bit of a gamble. It’s another bold departure from the well-paved classical music highway, onto uncharted byways bound for terra incognita.
Over the past decade, such diversions have gradually become par for course for the ‘Queen of Harps’ (queen of the understatement too). Back in 2009, she pursued a genre-busting collaboration with Cimarron, virtuosi of harp-heavy joropo music from Colombia. Then came her duo with Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita, which has so far yielded two award-winning albums, Clychau Dibon (2013) and SOAR (2018), a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for ‘Best Band’, multiple tours and appearances at leading global music festivals including WOMAD, Shambala, Sfinks, Hay Festival and Lorient Interceltic Festival. And yet, through all that, she never stopped writing, recording and performing with leading classical orchestras and composers.