Live Review: Kristy Chmura

LiveStream  Caldwell, NJ

Contact: [email protected]


Players. Kristy Chmura, harp, vocals; Damien Musto, electric guitar, background vocals; Chris Sulit, keyboards, acoustic guitar, background vocals, Kevin Walters, drums, percussion; Rob Fitzgerald, bass

Material: Most of us are accustomed to seeing a harp in a symphony orchestra or in some form of orchestral setting, but harpist and indie songwriter Kristy Chmura takes the instrument in a whole different direction. In her recent streamed event, Chmura combined just a few choice songs interspersed with a prologue about each one. The song content touches on several themes, from trying to revive a previous relationship to resolving an existential crisis. 

In “Come Back Home,” Chmura beseeches a partner to return to her. The payoff line, also the song’s title, repeats numerous times, further establishing the hook and the angst associated with the central message. With its captivating percussive treatment, Chmura is able to merge seamlessly with the band. 

In “Leigh,” a soul-searching exercise and her most vulnerable song, she questions how to continue navigating life: Trying to figure out a way to keep on going but this world is so unkind…I feel dead inside/help me come alive…/one day I hope you find your tarnished batch of bravery/I want to touch the sky again. Kicking off with just an acoustic guitar accompaniment, the song then builds to a fuller band sound.

Musicianship: Chmura demonstrates mastery over her instrument and plays it as if were an extension of herself. In a stark contrast to the more ethereal sounds of the harp, her vocals work well against it to establish more sonic depth. Comprising a significant number of musicians, the band forms a backdrop for the harp and vocals to stay front and center and, when necessary, meld with the band.

Performance: When speaking about the material, Chmura plainly stated her intention for the songs and what each one means to her. When it came to the actual performance, she was totally immersed in the moment. Presented with all new material, a listener might welcome a rendition of a popular song, most likely one that has never been heard on the harp!

Summary: Kristy Chmura offers something unique by incorporating harp into the pop format, which can also serve as a great marketing and branding tool. The harp, by nature, has a very Zen effect on the listener and the vocals and backing band bring in that element of excitement.