Blues, Flamenco, Celtic, Funk, Folk and Jazz. It sounds like a line-up of radio stations, but it's the musical styles of Deborah Henson-Conant, who strings all these varying sounds together and more on her electric harp.
Described once as "the Jimi Hendrix of the harp," the Grammy-nominated Henson-Conant has been transforming the typically dulcet and angelic tones tinkling from the harp into her own kaleidoscope of genres.
The Turlock Community Concert Association is bringing Henson-Conant to town for a show at 7:30 p.m. March 1 at the Turlock Community Theatre.
Henson-Conant began playing the harp while attending the University of California at Berkeley. She says she was initially resistant to taking up the harp because she saw it as a "sissy" instrument that didn't fit with her rebellious persona. She said the classical music world was too confining, which is why she began exploring different genres that could be played on the harp.
She wanted to create her own brand of music for the harp and for that she would need an instrument that was uniquely her own.
She went to French harp builder Joel Garnier in 1998 and convinced him to build a harp with each string individually electrified and a harness that allows her to strap it to her body and give her the freedom to move about the stage.
She has performed solo shows and toured with the Boston Pops. She has jammed onstage with Bobbie McFerrin and offstage with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, and once opened for Ray Charles.
In addition to her music, Henson-Conant has gained a reputation as a consummate storyteller and comedian. Nation Public Radio's Scott Simon once referred to her as "the talented love-child of Andre' Previn and Lucille Ball."
Season tickets to the Turlock Community Concerts' five-concert series are $60 for adults; $70 for one-adult families; and $130for two-adult families. Season subscription includes reciprocal tickets at eight affiliated associations in the region. Single tickets for this event are $25 for adults and $15 for students. For tickets visit www.turlockconcert.org or by telephone call Linda Posegate at 668-1456 or Sue Bonander at 668-3627.