Colunia, it’s jazz...

...and not only!

The influences of traditional and classical music intermingle in the compositions magnified by the presence of a new type of harp called chromatic harp; a new instrument, which opens up new possibilities, to discover absolutely!


The four musicians of Colunia take you on a journey with multiple colors, compositions and improvisations, and reveal a warm, playful and subtle atmosphere...



The chromatic harp with aligned strings is a new instrument, developed about fifteen years ago by Philippe Volant, a harp-maker from Brittany. The particularity of this harp is the twelve notes on an octave instead of eight usually there on Celtic harps and pedal harps (Classical) called diatonic harps. Those harps use a lever and pedal mechanism respectively to adjust the desired string and to access the missing notes.


The evolution of harp learning since the 70's with the introduction of the Celtic harp in

conservatories and music schools has popularized the learning of the harp. With this, was born

the ambiguity of the Celtic instrument disconnected from its traditional context. While some tea-

ching has maintained the original tradition of the instrument, others have had a more hybrid-style 

training, try out new repertoires and try to fit into the current musical landscape.


The evolution of music during the twentieth century has made certain pieces difficult to perform on

diatonic harp, especially for jazz styles and improvised music that require a instantaneous relation-

ship between the musician's ear and his instrument. The practice of contemporary musicians tends

also to diversify and it is not uncommon to see musicians from a style share experiences and open to

other styles.


Although the diatonic harp is an instrument said « harmonic", it is not always optimized for this role since

it requires intermediary mechanisms. The chromatic harp, on the other hand, allows a quick adaptation to

any harmonic context, navigating easily between the tones, and have harmonic freedom as instruments like

piano for instance.


Yet, not known enough, chromatic harp is nevertheless likely to provide solutions to a generation of musi-

cians who wish to enrich themselves beyond stylistic barriers, and help the harp increase its visibility towards

different audiences in the current musical landscape.


The foundation of France and its musical expert Jean-Paul Holstein, composer and director of a conservatory of Paris,

were convinced by the potential of this instrument and granted a scholarship « Déclics Jeunes » in 2010 to Émilie Chevillard for purchasing, learning and developing this instrument.



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© 2019 by Colunia. Photo credit: David Gallard/CLACK ; Mogri ; Chloé Boursicot 

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