Music review: NeoFolk Harpist Calvin Arsenia

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Calvin Arsenia wears his heart on his sleeve and his harp on a tripod. His is a small (electro)harp, but a big heart.

Laughing Horse @ Moriarty’s (Venue 332)


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A strikingly tall, dark, amiable figure, sporting a slight spangling of glitter, this native of Kansas City, unlikely as it may seem, accompanies his R&B/soul vocals with the clarsach. Accompanied discreetly in this intimate ­basement venue by a keyboard/laptop player, his own numbers revealed a soulful voice which can become powerfully impassioned, flipping startlingly into falsetto in the pop-ish Constellation, and accompanied by glittering, sometimes buzzy, harp.

Like many of his songs chronicling an erratic love life, the bittersweet Experience was delivered in an urgent stream of lyrics reminiscent of Joan Armatrading.

However soulful, his ­singing can sound a bit uncertain at times, similarly when delving into the great American song book and elsewhere, a slight raggedness emerging in the otherwise warm delivery for Elton John’s Your Song, while the old Nat King Cole hit Nature Boy, and the ­Gershwin classic Summertime again triggered that soaring falsetto.

He closed on a wistful note, with Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees, once again delivered with engaging heart.

Until 27 August. Today 1:15pm.