It’s been a long journey of discovery for local harpist Elska. She grew up on the Gold Coast performing as a dancer from four years old, started to take singing and music theory lessons from eight and was firm in her mission to do something ‘different’ by the time she was ten.
But it’s been many years between discovering the harp and actually releasing a song, for this lady. Her debut single ‘Boy’ was released in September this year.
“I wanted to learn another instrument and my parents always encouraged me to be different… I saw a harpist perform in Broadbeach and he was completely untraditional. He burst out on stage with the harp strapped to his chest and danced around with it to this energetic music, and that to me, couldn’t get any more ‘different’,” Elska told We Are Gold Coast.
Elska says her time growing up on the Gold Coast was colourful and vibrant. As a young performer she tried her hand at eisteddfods, Surf Life Saving Beach Girl Quests and talent shows.
“I engaged in anything and everything I could convince my mum to drive me to,” she said. “My very first public performances on the harp grew out of busking at the local markets when I was twelve and I used to collect my donations in a hat of my grandma’s and store all my coins in Milo tins under my bed!”
Just last month, Elska received funds from City of Gold Coast’s Regional Arts Development Fund to create a music documentary ‘Heart + Harp’ and take it to the people by way of a series of screenings and live performances at City Libraries. You can imagine her reaction.
“I was so bloody happy that I swore, cried and then popped a cheap bottle of champagne,” she said.
The Regional Arts Development Fund Activate Music Grant supports the development of the Gold Coast’s contemporary music artists and industry.
“I went through a rigorous process of first-time grant writing, in order to seek supplementary funding for my music documentary. This entailed night after night of writing ‘til all hours of the morning about what I envisioned for my project and how I was not only going to undertake it, but also how I was going to contribute financially,” Elska said.
Heart + Harp – Official Documentary. Credit: elskamusic
And it seems Council were right taking a punt on this rather unconventional artist who has elevated the harp to a whole new level – incorporating an animated live performance as well as a loop pedal. Elska has had her music chosen to be showcased at Australian Music Week this November and her documentary, is also being screen as part of Australian Music Week Film Festival.
“This is huge for me,” she said. “I booked a last minute ticket and flight to Australian Music Week in 2017 because a very smart little kitty told me I should go to scope out what it was all about, meet key industry professionals, and learn, learn, learn,” Elska said.
“12 months on and I’ve been selected to perform my very own music showcase there, as well as having my documentary ‘Heart + Harp’ officially selected and screened IN A CINEMA as part of the partnering Australian Music Week Film Festival. Holy smokes!”
Elska’s new single ‘Boy’ is out now and you can catch her perform live at The Cambus Wallace on 13 November, The Scottish Prince on 25 November, HOTA’s Lawn Bar on 7 December, Westfield Coomera on 20 December and at her regular monthly gigs at other local venues like NightQuarter.