Today we’d like to introduce you to Yomí.
Yomí, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been a harpist longer than I haven’t and that’s always going to be a fact. It’s so much a part of the air I breathe at this point that I can’t even begin to imagine life without this instrument. It was love at first sight for me, the first time I saw a harp performance I was eight years old and that was all it took for the obsession to begin. Although that obsession faded after years of playing classical music and losing that original wonder for the instrument, it came back tenfold once I started writing my own music and improvising more. I really got to understand myself and my instrument as a tool for healing, a tool for the community. I saw how when I would dive into my harp in front of a room of people, the room would fall silent, and for a moment we’d all find peace together. Now, that’s all I could ever hope to do for the rest of my life. Harps are extremely powerful instruments with a rich history, I’m honored to be able to display that magic often.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Is the road ever completely smooth? It took me years to figure out how I was meant to be connected to this instrument. I was in a very dark place in life when I decided to re-approach my harp and make it my own. And just because I got a spark of what my potential purpose was didn’t mean I truly understood it until maybe about this year alone (four-five years later.) But nevertheless, I persisted despite having no idea why. Somewhere in me at a very young age, I had realized that this was all I needed, and it took me until this year to figure out why. I could have given up on the intuition of my young self, several times I did, but I think once you figure out why you’re doing something then you have the purpose and reason to do it for the rest of your life. And that’s where I’m at today.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
It’s hard for me to pinpoint just one, but I suppose since we’re on the topic of harps I’ll revisit that first day I ever saw a harp when I was a kid. I was at the arts camp Interlochen in Michigan visiting my sister with my mother, we spent the day taking in the magic of all the three-story-tall trees and the jet black squirrels that inhabited them. The camp was on an extremely large campus and I was a little girl with short legs. We had a favorite fried pickle spot nearby that we loved being regulars at whenever we were in town, and we had planned to grab my sister from her cabin at one end of the camp, get back to our car at the other end of the camp, and make our way to some scrumptious deep fried pickle-y goodness. In order to speed up the process, my mother found a trusted counselor to leave me with while her and my longer-legged sister scurried around the campgrounds. The counselor happened to be on her way to a harp concert.
In many ways, I consider watching that harpist one of my first religious experiences. I was glued, I was hypnotized. I couldn’t stop staring at her hands, in fact, her hands are the only thing I remember about the whole experience. How they had full control of this giant vibrating, beautifully crafted hunk of wood. How she would pull chords on top of each other that would create these warm vibrations that would like to sink into your soul and then, just like that, clamp all the strings on the harp between her hands and take it all away from you, leaving you in a calm stillness. My mother and sister found me before the concert was over and I refused to leave. So, we enjoyed our first of many harp concerts together, and then found our way to those fried pickles. Now, that’s what I call happiness.
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