Journey to the Harp
Kelly is a Vietnamese/Australian musician and artist based in Meanjin, Brisbane. From a young age, she developed a deep fascination for harps, enthralled by their mystique and the magical symbolism of this instrument in folktales, fantasy, and video games. Though the harp was an inaccessible instrument in her childhood, she was privileged to receive piano lessons and learned percussion and guitar. With an unwavering dream to play the harp, as a young adult Kelly purchased a lap harp from a harp maker she discovered in regional NSW and taught herself to play. Years later in 2021, she spent a week at the harp maker's workshop building her 36-string lever harp; a challenging and meditative process that connected her to the heart of the harp’s voice; the material, wood, and foundation for the creation of its sound.
Throughout her journey of discovering the harp, Kelly has treated the instrument as a playable sculpture piece, embellishing her harps with 22-carat gold leaf artwork featuring fish, stars, suns, and moons symbolising the instrument’s intrinsic connection to nature and storytelling.
Kelly uses vintage pedals to create live soundscapes and loops, alongside field recordings from travels to forests, lakes, or seasides. Her music takes inspiration from the feeling of dream-like ambiance found in memory and natural spaces. Drawn to the beauty of impermanence, Kelly seeks to express these themes through harp song embedded with feeling and reflection.
Kelly has played at The Calile, Goma, Brisbane Quarter in solo arrangements and has played at QPAC, The Powerhouse and multiple other showcases as the harpist in Matt Hsu's Obscure Orchestra.