Duo Means Two, or Does It?
The inspiration for this blog came to me when I sat thinking about Karina, my sister, and how we have always done everything together.
Ever since we were little, we would take on new challenges, try new things and go on adventures – together. So, when we both had an interest in music, it only made sense for both of us, to learn and perform together.
Later, ‘2 of Harps’ was born.
At the young age of 12 and 16, we didn’t realise the potential our young ‘duo’ had. We played because we loved music, the sheer joy we had from it and the happiness we saw it brought others.
Soon, we realised we both wanted to make music our jobs and invested time and money into expanding our small family business. We didn’t realise we would face obstacles, but all the experiences, both negative and positive helped us grow as people and musicians.
After years of performing, rehearsing, composing, working, collaborating and sharing ideas together, we knew we were much more than just a duo. It may have started with playing two harps together, but as we began introducing our voices and other instruments, we realised we were a team…
Two sisters. Two harps. Two voices.
Writing Music – Our Story
Written by Adel
The first time I realised I wanted to write music, was after my Grade 1 Harp Exam. Although I am only 22, this was many years ago now, when I was living in Scotland.
I remember the exam day as clearly as if it were today. I was doing both my Grades 1 and 2 one after another, very unusual and nerve wracking for me! I had chosen my favourite pieces to play and was well prepared thanks to my fantastic teacher Helen MacLeod. The exams were taking place during the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, it was busy, so there were several people helping out. After noting down my tunes, Ellie, one of the helpers said, ‘ You do realise the examiner is Wendy Stewart?’ My chest felt tighter – I’d picked two pieces to play written by her! Eeeek! I had no time to panic, just gather my thoughts and go into the room where I would meet Wendy, the person who first inspired me to write music.
Sisters of the Harp
On the way back home, I thought about the stories I could create through my music, just like Wendy had. Shortly after that, I found myself with my own manuscript book, sitting at the harp wondering how and where to start. That wasn’t the problem however. After some false starts and bad attempts, I finally completed my first piece called Pebbles which would later feature on one of our 2 of Harps albums ‘Sorelle di Harpa’ [sisters of the harp]. The problem I found with writing, was stopping. I could sit for hours at the harp. If it wasn’t for my parents reminding me it was lunchtime, I would forget to eat and drink.
It was not until a couple of years after I first began writing music, that I began collaborating with my sister in writing songs. Eight songs and an album later [Moving On], we discovered that when we worked together, we were unstoppable. It allowed us to explore ideas, be more creative and bounce off each other.
Now, several years later and with more understanding of the music we want to create, we are working to produce an album which showcases our story and musical journey.
If you loved reading about our music and would like to download one of our albums, click here.
Breaking [it] Down
So many things to think about when you’re heading out for a gig. You’ve loaded up your vehicle. You’ve left plenty of time to get to the venue…
The engine won’t start!
It’s normal to panic, but there are steps you can take as a musician to avoid it.
We had finished playing at a wedding and packed our car, ready to go home. Except we couldn’t… Our car wouldn’t start! But there was no need to panic. With great business insurance and breakdown cover, we called the RAC and were able to drive home [although later than planned..!].
You’re in Safe Hands!
The RAC fixed the problem, and even if the car had to be taken away, we could have:
- been driven to another venue [if we had another performance], then back home, with all our equipment
- given a replacement vehicle, until ours was fixed
- driven to any immediately upcoming performances
We’ve Got it Covered – Have you?
- Is your vehicle covered for business use? You may need to double check this and update your insurance.
- Breakdown cover. It’s best to be safe than sorry. Look at the best cover, not the best price. Always speak with an expert first. Things you might want to consider include: do they provide alternative travel to and from the venue? What about a vehicle replacement if yours is being fixed. You’ll need this, especially if you have performances booked for the following day.
- No musician wants to miss a gig. Be organised. Have you registered with the Musicians’ Union? Have a look at the benefits – it’s worth the money and takes little of your time. If you’re not an MU Member, you’re missing out! Sign up, Like and Follow them online.
A Girl Should Be Two Things, Classy and Fabulous
At 2 of Harps we believe that looking the best for any event is important, that’s why, we have been redesigning our image and developing our style.
‘Your Hair is Your Crown’
Life can be hectic and stressful. Your hair is the last thing you think about and before you know it, it’s time to head out of the door to perform… Not any more! Thanks to Gillian Smissen, our hair stylist who has adapted hairstyles for us that are quick and easy, we are never left with a ‘bad hair day’ look.
‘Makeup Magnifies the Beauty That Already Exists’
Musicians don’t always look flawless, they don’t wear makeup whilst writing lyrics for their songs, or whilst in the recording studio. Our makeup artist Gillian Smissen [https://www.gilliansmissen.com/]works with our skin to find the best products and create effortless looks for photoshoots, events and performances on stage. It’s all about creating the perfect balance to match the overall look. We love working with someone so talented!
‘Fashions Fade, Style is Eternal’ – Yves Saint Laurent
We have been developing our individual style, so that we stay comfortable, but still look and feel great! We have chosen to pair up fashionable and modern dresses with Converse shoes. It’s all about the colours and the cut of the dress to make us look elegant yet allowing us to move around with ease. Why Converse shoes? [https://www.converse.com/uk]They are comfortable, they look fantastic and they come in gorgeous colours and textiles, from glittery pink, to sequined silver and hessian gold.
Our style showcases us as people, it helps others see our characters – young, fun, elegant and with a passion for fashion!
Dressed to Impress
Thanks to the Golden Valley Cleaners, our dresses always look the best. A personal service, leaving us feeling fantastic for all our performances and events.
Golden Valley Cleaners at 125 Enbrook Valley, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 3NE. Tel. 01303 221748
Our Charity of the Year 2019!
Photographs by @howlingbasset Photography – performing at the Hythe Imperial Hotel for a Summer Wedding July 2018
Keeping Up to Date
At the musicians agency in Tenerife ‘Artistas de Tenerife’ planning and organising our Tour 2019!
Like and Follow
Wedding Harp Music
Browse our repertoire
Wedding harp music – https://2ofharps.com/musicrepertoire/musicforyourday/
Professional Harpists based in Kent
Thank you to everyone who came to support us at our concert and afternoon tea today (08/09/17), raising money for the Community First Responders.
Adel and Karina received Awards at the National Art Award Presentation Evening at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in South Kensington, London on Monday 17th October.
Karina won Gold in the Child Music Category and Adel was presented with Silver in the Youth Music Age Group for their music compositions.
Adel and Karina would like to thank everyone who attended their ‘Concert and Afternoon Tea’ on the 14th September at St Mary’s Bay Village Hall to help fundraise for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
Adel and Karina performed for a Private Sponsors Party of Art for Youth London, Mall Galleries SW1 London.
2nd July 2016
Adel and Karina playing harps, flute and singing at Saltwood – Sandgate Centre for Dance, a night of Celtic Capers – we also had the opportunity to fundraise for our Charity of the Year 2016 – The Kent Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance!
2 of Harps’ Charity of the Year 2016
Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance
“The charity exists to relieve sick and injured people in South East England and surrounding areas by providing a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) and Air Ambulance Service for the benefit of the community.
The Kent Air Ambulance Trust, a registered charity, was established in 1989, to provide an air ambulance service for the people of Kent. 2005 saw the introduction of doctors on board and, in 2007, the Trust expanded its service and launched a second helicopter to cover the counties of Surrey and Sussex.”
To find out more about this charity’s work please visit https://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/
Help 2 of Harps Raise Money to Save Lives
To make a donation please contact 2 of Harps, or you could attend one of their fundraising concerts or events – 07795 511355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
June 19, 2015
Seven exceptional volunteers were honoured for their dedication to improving the lives of local young people at The Duke of Gloucester’s Volunteer Award ceremony, held at the Coca-Cola London Eye last week.
Innovative Volunteering – Adel and Karina Wilson
Adel and Karina Wilson have been volunteering for five years. Both sisters run mini harp workshops for vulnerable children and adults in their local community in Kent, providing others with the opportunity to play a harp and listen to music. They also lead highland dancing workshops.
Bristol A-level student Levi Hodge was announced as the Volunteer of the Year for his role in providing positive activities to young people facing adversity. Levi also won the Leadership category for his outstanding contribution to a regional youth forum that has successfully brought local young people together with the police, councillors and MP’s to address anti-social behaviour.
Levi commented: “I can’t believe I’ve won! This is amazing. Volunteering has helped me turned my life around and given me a positive outlook for my future. I’d never be going to university without the support of Youth Moves and I’m so grateful to them for nominating me.”
Levi says his life could have been very different if his youth club hadn’t engaged him in volunteering at a time when he was getting into trouble with the police and at risk of being excluded from school.
Six other lucky winners who were chosen out of 13,500 volunteers in Ambition’s national network of youth clubs and community projects, also received a prestigious HRH Duke of Gloucester Volunteer Award
Enterprise – Claire Kelly
Claire co-facilitates the Youth Forum at the New Horizons Youth Centre in Kings Cross, which gives young people a voice on how the centre is managed. In 2014 Claire set up a social enterprise market stall called ‘Crepe Up’.
Fundraising – John Shallcross
John is a successful local business man who has led Nortumberland Club for Young People’s Corporate Fundraising Programme for last 30 years. He has raised over £1,000,000 for the organisation, and has established a number of successful partnerships and sponsorship opportunities.
Healthy Lifestyles – Matthew Thorne
For the last two and a half years Matthew has volunteered twice a week after school. He runs the ‘Fit to Run’ project and the ‘Happy’ video project in Poole for young adults with learning disabilities, and provides weekly activities for 9-12 year olds including cooking, games and trips out.
Social Action Project – Young Advisors NE Lincolnshire
The Young Advisors started a youth campaign in February 2012 to improve access and accessibility to public transport. As a result of their campaign, Stagecoach agreed to introduce a cheaper ‘Holidayrider’ for young people as a trial in the school holidays, and bus usage in the area increased by 60%. The campaign has been a huge success and continues to this day, enabling thousands of young people and families to access positive activities.
Helen Marshall, Chief Executive of Ambition commented: “Volunteering is a fantastic way for young people to gain transferable skills and life experience, making a positive difference not only to themselves but also to their local community. All of our winners should feel very proud of their achievements and I’m delighted that we could celebrate with them.”
All winners received a cash prize. Levi will attend Ambition’s prestigious 90th anniversary Gala Dinner at Kensington Palace on 7 July 2015 to receive his award from HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
The Duke of Gloucester’s Volunteer Awards launched in January 2015 to celebrate the 90thanniversary of Ambition. Prince Richard, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, has been Ambition’s president since 1974 following in the footsteps of his father, Prince Henry, who became President of the charity in 1926.
Here you can listen to music recorded by 2 of Harps. Follows 2 of Harps on SoundCloud and be the first to know when new music is released!