The Scotsman Sessions #367: Lucie Hendry

Welcome to the Scotsman Sessions, a series of short video performances from artists all around the country introduced by our critics. Here, harpist Lucie Hendry plays a stripped-back version of Marbæk (pronounced “mar-bek”), taken from her forthcoming album Land of Eden

This week’s Scotsman Session celebrates the connections between folk and jazz, Scotland and Denmark, courtesy of harpist Lucie Hendry, who hails from north-east Scotland, where she formed violin/harp duo, Aves o’ May, with Beccy Amphlett, and released the 2020 album Still the Night.

This former Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist established her Nordic connection courtesy of the Making Tracks music exchange programme and has now swapped her North Sea commute for residence on the island of Fanø, part of the UNESCO-listed Wadden Sea National Park and a short hop from the city of Esbjerg.

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“It’s an island with significant nature, strong culture and traditions,” says Hendry. “It’s like going through a portal back in time, as many of the original thatched roof cottages still exist and are preserved as the islanders’ homes.”

Lucie HendryLucie Hendry
Lucie Hendry

She admits that starting from scratch in a new country has been challenging, but it has also opened up new musical avenues. “Moving to a place where the folk scene isn’t as big as in Scotland has given me opportunities to absorb many different genres, including many forms of jazz,” she says. “There is a music conservatoire in Esbjerg and this has been my main musician community here. Attending weekly concerts at the school was totally inspiring and challenged me to think outside the box in terms of instrument constellations and musical possibilities.”

She has since formed the Lucie Hendry Trio with two Danish jazz musicians, electric guitarist Dennis Iversen and drummer Christoffer Skovhus, who play on her upcoming environmentally inspired debut album Land Of Eden.

“The end result would have been completely different if I hadn’t moved to Denmark and collaborated with Dennis and Christoffer,” she says. “I love the solo sections in some tracks, it’s almost melancholic, as those solo decisions are unique moments that will probably never be played in the same way again.

“For many years I have wanted harp music perceptions to widen significantly. It’s so much more than a quiet accompaniment instrument. It is truly an instrument with guts. So pair the instrument with some of the loudest instruments, the drums and the electric guitar, then the harp really is pushed into the forefront and it has to compete otherwise it’s drowned.”

Her Scotsman Session performance, however, is a stripped back harp-only version of Marbæk (pronounced “mar-bek”), an album track named after a nature park just north of Esbjerg.

“I thought it would be nice to make more of the connection to Denmark which is like my second home,” she says. “I’ve gained a ton of skills and confidence here that I don’t think I would have to the same extent if I had stayed in Scotland. I fully intend to move back in the future and, in the meantime, continue working and developing musician connections in Scotland.”

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The Lucie Hendry Trio play a two-week tour of Scotland in the second half of October, to include concerts in Angus, Aberdeen, Glasgow, the Scottish Borders, Strontian and Kyle of Lochalsh. Land of Eden is released on 16 June, see