Based in Wales, The Harriet Earis Trio is a rare Celtic Jazz Fusion band whose leading instrument is a Celtic Harp. Formed in the late 2000s, the sound of the trio hinges on the harp of English-born and Aberystwyth-based Harriet Earis. A classically trained musician on the concert pedal harp, Harriet Earis has been exploring since 1997 the Welsh, Scottish and Irish repertoires while teaching or touring in Europe and further afield.

She recorded her first solo album “Jumping Ahead” in 2003 as well as duo albums with folk singer Sharron Kraus (Winter Songs – 2013) or more recently with piper and flute player Colman Connolly (Agus Luascadh – 2015). Together with Sam Christie on drums and Andy Coughlan on double/electric bass, the harpist released From the Crooked Tree back in 2007 as The Harriet Earis Trio.

The Harriet Earis Trio - From the Crooked Tree (2007)
The Harriet Earis Trio – From the Crooked Tree (2007)

If most of the repertoire composed for the Celtic harp originates from the Celtic nations of Western Europe, the music influencing the trio comes from an eclectic range of sources. From the Crooked Tree includes Irish reels and Scottish fiddles tunes but also “Cadair Idris”, a traditional Welsh air mixed with The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”, several newly-composed tunes from musician friends, a reprise of the 1979 song “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” from English new wave band Tubeway Army and two much-loved Dave Brubeck themes: “Take Five” and “Unsquare Dance”.

If the music is unmistakably “Celtic”, most tunes quickly morph into a drum & bass mode once the trio finds its groove spearheaded by the dazzling trickle of notes from the harp. And lightly peppered with electronic samples of… kitchen devil knives on the original recording, “Kitchen Devils” combines the traditional Scottish strathspey “The Devil’s in the Kitchen” with a newly composed reel – both set to an exhilarating bass line.