Self-taught harpist and vocalist Anactoria can still remember her first musical experience: teaching herself Ani DiFranco songs on the guitar, hidden away in the garage so no-one could hear her.
“I was an extremely shy musician until I was about 23, when I first started performing my own songs in front of people,” the alter-ego of songwriter Tamlyn Magee said.
“[This is] partly why the EP is named Twentythree - also because I used a 23-string Celtic harp to record the whole thing.”
This debut EP is being launched in Candelo – also where she is based – this Friday.
Speaking to the Bega District News, she said she was introduced to the harp through the music of Joanna Newsom.
“I love everything about her songwriting and the way she uses harp is forever a source of inspiration for me,” Anactoria said.
“My favourite thing about the harp is how unusual it is, how it forces me to be creative with the way I compose songs and accompany my voice.
“I also love the effect it has on many people, sort of intoxicating and relaxing them.”
Twentythree took five years to write and there were many influences involved in its creation, but she said the biggest was probably the musical community in Alice Springs.
“All the other musos playing on the record are Alice Springs people, and it is a very vibrant creative scene out there where I felt supported to explore ideas and express myself really freely. A bit like Candelo in that respect,” she said.
An audience attending one of Anactoria’s live performances can expect to be surprised and immersed in a new experience.
A current of electric harp runs underneath thoughtful lyrics and a courageous vocal performance, embellished by elegant but earthy effects, live percussion and strings.
David Ross MacDonald, who will open the evening, was part of The Waifs and performs with an intricate fingerstyle guitar style.
Anactoria will perform on Friday, May 11 at the Candelo General Store Cafe, Candelo. The cafe is open from 6pm and music starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are $15/10.