March 18, 2019
Regular readers of CamacCom (that’s Camac communications, snazzy) will be no strangers to the work of Tara Minton. We have supported Tara ever since hearing her first single, shortly before she moved to London – and we have loved working with her since. She mixes great covers and original songs, is a wonderful storyteller, and is one of several harpists really putting the blue harp on the wider pop and jazz map.
Tara and her trio/quartet with have played some of London’s most iconic venues including The Elgar Room at The Royal Albert Hall, The 606, The Pizza Express Soho, Ronnie Scott’s Upstairs, The Pheasantry, and Brasserie Zédel. In 2018, she appeared with Björk on “Later… with Jools Holland”, and toured with her to Primavera Sound, Barcelona. This year Tara recorded with Tom Walker, British Breakthrough Act winner at the BRIT Awards 2019, and appeared with him on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge.
Tara has another big gig coming up in London on March 27th, opening for Sara Niemietz and Snuffy Walden at St Pancras Old Church. If you’ve ever watched The West Wing (or Kidnapped, or The Wonder Years), you’ll have heard Snuffy’s Emmy award-winning music, and the London date is part of his second European tour with Niemietz. If you like Postmodern Jukebox (Walden and Niemietz have worked with them too), you’ll like this: vintage tunes in a jazzy, blues-y, American singer-songwriting way.
“Their management actually found me on SoundCloud“, Tara recalls. “I didn’t think anyone really looked at SoundCloud.” [at this point, Camac AR interjects to say we often look at SoundCloud]. “Yeah, I know you do, but you spend your lives listening to harp music… it can still be a bit of a musicians’ secret, compared to YouTube anyway”, Tara goes on. “But there you go, they found it and emailed me. I’ll be doing a solo set, mostly from the album but I might chuck in a cheeky jazz tune or two as well.”
Tara is also teaming up with couple of other well-known jazz harpists. On August 26th, she’ll play a double bill with Ben Creighton Griffiths, at gipsy swing / manouche venue Le Quecumbar in London SW11. Ben has a gipsy jazz band – The Transatlantic Hot Club – as does Tara, Harp Bazaar. After jamming together in Cardiff, they therefore decided to organise this double bill as part of Ben’s UK summer tour.
Another summer project for Tara will be a jazz harp weekend in Stockholm with Stina Hellberg Agback. “Stina and I have become great friends, and were discussing jazz education for the harp. We both find ourselves more in the jazz world than the harp world a lot of the time…and so we thought, what have we learnt from the jazz world, as sort of undercover harpists, that would be useful for other harpists know about? This will form the basis of our retreat. We’ll also do a concert, and bring a rhythm section for harpists to work with throughout. And participants should definitely also bring their own compositions, the idea is to have a very collaborative process.”
What else is in the pipeline? A new album! “You’ll recognise my sound” says Tara, “but I’ve evolved. There will be a lot more improvisation. I’d say that ‘The Tides of Love’ was tiptoeing towards jazz, whereas this new album has marched over and sat down in the middle of it.”
Intrigued Londoners can get tickets for Tara, Walden and Niemietz here. You can also hear Tara in residence every fortnight at The Savoy, frequently at The Half Moon in Putney, at Toulouse Lautrec, Vortex…it’s well worth keeping an eye on her live list. We do!