Please share with us a little about you, describe yourself in five words?
Harpist, emotional, caring, creative, nature-lover
Tell us about your journey? What brought you to where you are now?
I grew up surrounded by music and started my journey with the harp 16 years ago. An incredible 91-year-old harpist took a chance on me. She not only shared her love of music with me but also her love for people and for living life. Fast forward 16 years, and I work as a professional harpist all across the country. It’s an exciting whirlwind job (in non-COVID times!) but above all, I try to offer up my playing as a moment of respite from the world. Life is really hard and mental health issues are on the rise. I spent several years in a really dark place and the harp was my way of escaping.
Music has a wonderful way of transporting people to a better place, even if just for a moment in a day. On Instagram, I’ll post just one minute of music — it’s not always the fanciest, but it always comes from the heart with the hope that it’s what someone out there needs!
What has been your biggest inspiration with the work that you do and share?
My biggest inspiration has to be my harp mentor, Gabriella Dall’Olio. Despite being an international superstar in the harp world, she’s always stressed the importance of being a kind and caring human being above all.
She was the first person to teach me that it’s far more meaningful to offer up something that’s real and raw than to pursue perfection for perfection’s sake.
What sparks joy in your life that truly lights you up? (This could be big or small).
I absolutely love animals and the natural world. A walk-in autumnal light with the dog always feels magical to me!
What are your favourite soul or self-care practices right now that you can share with us?
There are two practices that I find really helpful at the moment — and they’re almost complete opposites! The first is taking cold showers. It helps me to realign myself and I find it so empowering to know that I can experience discomfort and still be ok!
The second is really tuning in to myself and what I need. If I need time off, I’m not afraid to take it and I schedule in time off exactly as I would schedule work in. That might sound obvious to some, but when you’re self-employed, it’s really hard!
During these times that we are experiencing as a collective, in what ways are you seeing the importance of community?
It’s been amazing to see so many people coming together. I’ve literally been kept afloat by my community of followers buying tickets to my online concerts. And I’ve been trying to give back through music: from impromptu concerts in the garden for the neighbours to giving a virtual recital to the nurses (and a patient) in an ICU ward.
My parents have both been shielding and they have been totally taken care of by members of their community picking up their prescriptions or even dropping off milk! Re-connecting with the community is definitely one silver lining that has resulted from such an awful situation.
Inspire our Breathe Love community, share an affirmation, or favourite quote, poem, song or playlist?
I love listening to Philip Glass Glassworks (especially the harp version, recorded by Lavinia Meijer).
Share with us something that you are really proud of?
I once played a concert to a tiny audience in Lewisham where a young girl leapt onto her seat and started dancing her heart out to my music.
Despite all the glitz and glamour that comes with being a harpist, the moments I’m most proud of are always when my music has lifted someone’s soul.
What will you never take for granted?
Having a secure income and home, and my support network. During the pandemic, I was lucky enough to firstly have an incredible landlord, and then after that, be able to move in with family. It’s sobering to think about how different things could have been if I didn’t have that support network.
What is your favourite practice that connects you to your heart ki/energy? (Please share a tip, tool or technique to support our wellbeing?
I’m a big fan of slow breaths in the outdoors. If by a lake or the sea, even better!
Rest the palms of your hands on your heart centre, take a soft breath and share with us a message from your heart?
Showing kindness and vulnerability is strength
“Showing kindness and vulnerability is strength.”
What’s coming up next for you?
As with many people in COVID times, I’m not sure what’s next for me yet. But I’ll continue to share moments of beauty over on my Instagram page.
Tune in to …… offerings:
Glenda Allaway is an award-winning harpist recognised for her outstanding musicianship. As a full-time professional harpist, she performs across the country for solo recitals, orchestral engagements and corporate functions alike.
Join, Glenda on Breathe Love Instagram, Sunday 31st January at 16:30 GMT. She will be sharing a 30 minute renewing Harp session. Watch back here