By Naddine Madell-Morgan
CALGARY — Traditionally associated with heavenly, orchestral and otherworldly music, the harp is not an instrument you would look towards in modern pop music, but it is starting to make its presence known.
If indie Harp acts such as Joanna Newsom and Sarah Page have hit your radar, make room for one more: Emilie & Ogden. The cliché image of the “singer/songwriter” as a dude with a guitar is so over; we much prefer a gal and her harp; the harp being Ogden, of course.
Growing up in Montreal, Emilie Kahn knew she wanted to do something with music from an early age, but never really seemed to connect with a particular instrument. It wasn’t until seeing Sarah Page play the harp that Emilie Kahn knew she had discovered the “instrument she had always been looking for.”
Since 2015, Kahn has been hard at work touring her debut solo album, 10,000 and fielding many interviews about songwriting, “Singing feels really good and a really pure and natural way to express something”. Kahn, who up until this point has just been writing songs in her bedroom creating ethereal, alternative, pop folk music that she is very hesitant to categorize. She describes, “Everything is so influenced by everything else it is so hard to pinpoint what it is.” It’s more about finding a healthy way to deal with “getting out anger or sadness that you don’t have anywhere else to put” and so the album has a lot of songs “exploring love falling apart… a lot of break-up songs.”
Is it challenging to be a solo act, but especially so touring with a large cumbersome instrument such as the harp. “it’s not too bad … the annoying part is that I can’t really bring it on the plane … I could buy a ticket and bring it in the seat next to me, but I am not actually allowed to because it’s too wide.” So when you see Emilie & Ogden this summer, gives her a little extra love. It might be easier to bring a guitar, but for Kahn, the “key of the (Lever) Harp naturally is the key of my voice.”
Emilie & Ogden perform at the Calgary Folk Music Festival on stage 1 on Saturday the 23rd as well as at the Ether Ore and Dueling Duos workshop.AB, Alberta, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival 2016, Emilie & Ogden