As a professional musician, notes have always been Lidia Stankulova’s thing. But she doesn’t owe her talent to a crochet or semi-quaver; more a paper note.
When Stankulova was 11, she spotted a flyer stuck to a classroom door from a harp teacher looking for new students.
Growing up in Sofia, Bulgaria, surrounded by local folk sounds, she was no stranger to music, learned the piano aged five and was accepted by the National Music School just seven. But from the day she saw that note, it was always about the harp and very soon she was infatuated by the celestial sounds.
Now aged 30, living and working in Dubai, Stankulova is taking her music making a step further playing at Harpists For Peace at The Fridge on July 15.
What is Harpists for Peace?
In July 2009, the first Peace Hour was held globally, an initiative and project lead by harpist and peace activist Alexis Aria. Harp players all over the world played for one hour, inviting people to one hour of reflection on peace and the dream of peace. The Fridge joined the project that same year and organized a stage at Dubai Festival City.
How did you get involved?
Aria, founded the group on Facebook, and contacted all the harpists around the world. Shelley Frost, harpist and director of The Fridge, arranged the first Peace Hour in Dubai. Working with The Fridge gave me the chance to get involved in all Peace Hours held in Dubai.
Whatever made you try the harp?
I started with piano at the age of five, but my teacher told me my hands were a bit small for piano, so when I turned 11, I spoke to the harp teacher instead. I loved it right away and have not stopped playing since.
Is it a challenge to travel with the giant instrument?
Sure, it is sometimes! Particularly when you don’t have a car. I used to move around town by taxi, and it was funny to explain to the taxi drivers what it was and that it was not dangerous to load in their car. When I was able to buy my own car, I first took my harp to the showroom, tried to load it in different cars and ended buying the car into which my harp fitted perfectly. Loading it into my car after a gig with an elegant evening dress on can be a struggle. People usually offer to help when I’ve just managed to get it in.
What does the harp offer which other instruments don’t?
You produce a nice sound from the second you start learning the harp. Even when you cannot play anything.
Describe the type of music you play?
My favourite is to walk through the countries and the different folklores. I enjoy Arabic music, playing the most famous Arabic songs — Dalida, Fairuz, Oum Koultum, Abdul Halim — not only because I live in an Arab country, but because I like the melodies and the rhythms.
What will the performance at The Fridge be like for the audience?
It is a unique experience for us (the performers) as well as the audience. We enjoy playing together and hope the people will feel that.
Doors at The Fridge open at 7.30pm and music starts at 8pm.