Driven by the urge for a direct and honest connection with her instrument ànd her audience, Brenda started to explore the possibilities of pure improvisation. No limits, no boundaries, no rules other than maintaining a certain tension, breathe, and connect with the harp and the listener.
Sometimes, the improvisation can be guided by a (real or imaginary) situation, or, as in the video below, by a piece of art.
The result can be lyrical, rough, more traditional, or exploring the very limits of the instrument. It is always intimate, and full of passion.
Free improvisation can become even more exciting with other players, and Brenda has found a perfect match in Marieke voor de Wind (bassoon). More info about their unique collaboration here: LINK
HarpTraxx produces house tracks based on recorded harp bytes, and performs by playing, and improvising over, house tracks by HarpTraxx, Tear of Joy and others. We create and play Deep House, Techno, and beyond.
HarpTraxx consists of DJ/producer Cristopher Michelangoli, aka Tear of Joy, originally from Italy, and harpist Brenda Dor-Groot, originally from The Netherlands, and sometimes welcome input from other musicians as well.
We perform house sets for events and specialised radio stations, and we presented a workshop and played at the Harp Rave at the Wild Strings UKHA Jazz & Pop Harp Festival in Manchester in 2018. We are currently expanding our repertoire of self produced tracks.
HarpTraxx approaches the production of a track by combining electronic sounds shaped by Cristopher with recorded bits of 'instant composed' harp playing on acoustic pedal harp, acoustic lever harp, and electric lever harp by Brenda, and sometimes recorded bass lines.
The resulting tracks can be played stand alone on electronic music sets by anyone, or we use them ourselves in a live setting and improvise with/on top of them together, on the harp and electronic devices.
Listen to our recent sound samples here:
HarpTraxx Soundcloud playlist
The harp is a great addition to the traditional selection of instruments involved in jazz. One of Brenda's main goals as a harpist is to get this point across both by playing and by spreading the word.
Together with Sabine Meijers, she has founded the International Jazz Harp Foundation, with the aim to promote, further develop and advance education of jazz harp worldwide.
As a player, Brenda is a 'retro' lover, meaning that she likes to look a bit further back, towards swing, rag time, and other rather traditional forms of jazz. Check out this Soundcloud playlist to hear some of her recordings.
The harp is sometimes functioning like a piano, sometimes more like a guitar. For Brenda, this translates into the following ensemble options:
harp & violin
harp, bass & drums
harp, bass, violin & drums
harp & voice