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HYFINated Conversations

Brandee Younger’s ‘brand new’ mission to solidify the harp as a jazz music staple

todayApril 11, 2023

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Brandee Younger; Credit: Erin O’Brien

Most people think of the harp as an instrument primarily meant for classical music, but harpist and composer Brandee Younger is working to change that perception. She is championing the harp as an instrument for jazz. Younger’s newest album “Brand New Life” aims to illustrate the harp as a focal instrument in jazz. The project is inspired by another trailblazing jazz harpist, Dorothy Ashby, whose music continues to influence jazz, hip-hop and R&B.

Produced by Chicago’s drummer Makaya McCraven, “Brand New Life” features hip-hop producers Pete Rock and 9th Wonder, both known for sampling Ashby’s music. The album also has guest appearances from Meshell Ndegeocello and Mumu Fresh. “Brand New Life” celebrates the work of Ashby with select reinterpretations of her music along with original works from Younger. In her conversation with HYFIN, she talks about the album, Ashby, the harp as a jazz instrument and being a Black woman in the jazz scene dominated by men.

The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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