If you travel through the London Underground and hear harp music being played, consider yourself lucky, for you will want to stop and chat with the harpist and buy his CD. Why? He is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. His story will inspire you.
I met Peter Murphy on the first evening I started playing piano at the Renaissance Hotel in London Heathrow in December 2002. Well-dressed in a crisp white cotton shirt, white silk bow-tie, and black tuxedo, he was packing up his Celtic harp when I arrived. I extended my right hand and confidently introduced myself, “I am the resident pianist.”
He responded, “I am the resident harpist.”
Little did I know that our meeting would ignite a long collaboration and friendship.
Once you get to know the musician behind the music, it is no longer about the music but the relationship with the musician. Every time I travel through the London Underground, I look forward to chance upon Peter playing his harp. It is soothing and calming. I am so grateful there is no recorded music on the Underground, for live music means literally that you can stop and watch the musician playing the music.
Recently, the Evening Standard wrote a piece about Peter Murphy. In “My Harp Will Go On“, it mentions the 1,200 complaints the Kensington and Chelsea Borough receives per year, including that of “raucous street buskers.”
Personally, I prefer the silence of my own thoughts when I am in a public space. If the environment is not quiet, then I prefer the kind of live music that does not interfere or cause conflict within myself. Too often, while waiting in dental clinics, opticians, and hospitals, I get annoyed by background broadcast music and chitchat of radio and television. In contrast, harp music is soothing and calming, never annoying.