Patrice Fisher - Artist Statement

Although I have a bachelor's degree in music and composition from Tulane University, I have always focused my work on jazz. I learned to play jazz from my experience working as a professional musician in Louisiana since 1975. In 1980, I saw a public television special on the music of Brazil. I was so impressed, that I traveled to Brazil and began collecting recordings and transcribing music from those recordings. I went to as many live performances in Brazil as I could. I began to play in a group called the Sounds of Brazil, as well as continuing with my own group, Jasmine, which played original music and jazz. Some of the musicians who played with Sounds of Brazil were from Cuba and through their influence, I began to study Cuban music as well.

The harp is recognized as one of the most difficult instruments to play. The strings are set up in a diatonic scale, which is like the white keys of the piano. In order to get the sharps and flats (the black keys on a piano), the harpist needs to move a foot pedal on the harp. There are seven pedals, one for each letter name from A through G, which turn levers in the neck of the harp, changing the length of the string. Jazz is a very harmonicly complex music and sometimes my feet move as much as my hands. I found that most Latin music, although rhythmically complex, is relatively simple harmonically. My musical studies of Cuban and Brazilian music began to have a profound effect on my own compositions.