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New York, New York


A New York harpist trying to figure things out - and the mishaps and adventures that inevitably ensue.

Mikaela Davis @ Rockwood Music Hall

Kathryn Sloat

Tonight I had the chance to see my good friend Mikaela Davis play at Rockwood Music Hall, which is in the Lower East Side. I didn’t know this, but my roommate says it’s hard to get a gig there, so - go Mikaela!

Although Mikaela usually plays with her bandmates, Alex and Cian, this was a solo show. I love hearing the full band, but this gave me a chance to hear what she is doing with the harp parts for some of her newer songs. The last time I talked to Mikaela, she told me how her harp writing was being influenced by the classical composers she plays in school. This did not become completely obvious to me until I heard one of her new songs, called “Fortune Teller.” Much of the harp part is made up of downward arpeggios, with the top note acting as the melody - pure Marcel Tournier. And in another song (I can’t remember which) there was a section of glissandos that sounded very much like Carlos Salzedo's Scintillation. It could be just my imagination, but it seemed to me like Mikaela’s songs are getting more complex, both in terms of how involved &difficult the harp parts are and in terms of the harmonies. In a world of pop music where every thing is I-V-I, it was definitely a breath of fresh air. 

Another thing that has changed since I last heard Mikaela play a solo show is that she has added an effects pedal (pedals? I couldn’t tell). Obviously we’ve all heard this used on electric guitar, but I don’t think I’d ever heard it used on pedal harp before, and sounded very cool. Though when I first realized she was using this all I could think was, “Really, Mikaela? The harp already HAS seven pedals. Was that not difficult enough for you?!” But she seemed to manage the extra footwork without a problem. 

Mikaela is currently fundraising for her EP “Fortune Teller,” which will be released in January of 2014. Please consider donating (HERE), there are lots of great goodies if you do! Mikaela, Alex, and Cian are also going to be touring for the month of January to promote the new EP, so you can look up their tour dates on her Facebook page or on her website,

Lovely to see you and hear you again, Mikaela!