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Heidi Elva

Written by Caddie Brian on September 29, 2008

Let me tell you something about Heidi Elva. If there was musical genre equivalent to landscape painting, this is where we may find her, harp in hand, loop pedal underfoot, cellist in one pocket, and trumpeter in the other.

Strike up a conversation with any levitating punter in the aftermath of one of her gigs and you will inevitably find yourself describing a land without time, speaking of skylines and silhouettes, of houses and trees and birds and cars.

But before we cut off our ears and move to the South of France, let’s stop off in New Zealand to where Heidi spent her little years. Raised in the small town of Levin, not far from nowhere, Heidi’s father was a postman and a preacher and her mother, a devoted housewife. Most days, she and her mother would take him his lunch.

Church scaffolded her musical infancy; forging a strong connection between music and God that somewhat troubled Heidi. “Music throughout my life had always been connected to God and I really lost my sense of God when I was 19,” Heidi explains. “So I stopped playing music. I just didn’t have a forum for it.’”

But, four ear-piercings, 147 bummed cigarettes, and a pilgrimage west to Sydney, Heidi realised that music and travel were her bread and butter, so headed towards Lismore to study.

Then on her birthday, a steel-string harp in a “cheesy hippy store” in Lismore took her eye. Upon playing it in the empty four-bedroom house she was living in at the time, she just knew, “this is my instrument.”

Upon returning to Sydney, Heidi began recording ‘Ships and Trees’ in a tiny room on a busy street in Newtown under red lampshade light. Friends would come and go with instruments – trombone, cello, trumpet, slide guitar and bass. And the final touch? Heidi snuck into Glebe Town Hall late one night to record the piano on minidisc, completing her album.

So what better place to launch her debut than Glebe Town Hall right Heidi? “Well actually I had sex there one night” she said, declining to say anymore.

Heidi Elva’s ‘Ships and Trees’ Album Launch : Saturday October 4th, Glebe Town Hall, BYO.

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