Entertainment

Guitarist draws feeling from fans

Eric Harper’s musical journey took him around the world, from his birthplace in the U.S., to Portugal and then Nanaimo. He draws on those influences during a concert at The Buzz coffee house Wednesday (Dec. 18).  - Photo Contributed
Eric Harper’s musical journey took him around the world, from his birthplace in the U.S., to Portugal and then Nanaimo. He draws on those influences during a concert at The Buzz coffee house Wednesday (Dec. 18).
— image credit: Photo Contributed

Eric Harper was a seven-year-old kid doing the dishes when he heard something that mesmerized him.

“I had to stop what I was doing,” Harper said. “I walked over to the living room and just stared at the stereo. I thought, ‘wow, I want people to feel like that’”

Although Harper, now 36, cannot recall the song’s title, he remembers the feeling it gave him.

“It’s funny because music in itself is an idea and sometimes we forget that,” he said. “It’s not always the song that remains, but the feeling and idea that remains in our system.”

It wasn’t until he was introduced to the guitar that Harper developed a deep passion for music.

“I fell completely in love,” Harper said. “I was stuck. For four or five hours a day I would be found playing my guitar and I lost my social life ever since.”

Harper was born in Arkansas and spent his childhood living in Texas and New Mexico. During his early teenage years he was heavily into metal music.

“I grew up kind of as a metal head,” Harper said. “I was the kid who was into Metallica, Megadeath, Iron Maiden and a bunch of stuff like that.”

When Harper was 15, his family relocated from New Mexico to Braga, Portugal. The adjustment from being a metal head in the United States suddenly living in Portugal wasn’t easy.

Shortly after his arrival in Portugal, Harper was enrolled in a local classical musical school.

“I went basically from Metallica to Mozart in a matter of seconds,” Harper said. “That completely changed my universe.”

Harper not only began to embrace different styles of music, but developed a deep passion for classical music.

“I started learning the finger style and started to mix Western melodic and harmonic ideas combined with the classical technique,” Harper said.

Given Portugal’s close proximity to Spain, it was almost natural for Harper to stumble upon flamenco music.

“Having been a drummer it was a perfect blend of the classic technique with the rhythms that I love so much in the drumming world,” he said.

Harper returned to the U.S. when he was 20 and moved to Los Angeles when he was 24. Harper now resides in Nanaimo after he met his wife at one of his Nanaimo performances six years ago.

Harper’s most recent album, Ribeira, was released in 2013 and is his first instrumental album. “It’s just a lot of really intense guitar playing,” Harper said. “A lot of my fans were asking for some focused instrumental music and I hadn’t really produced anything and so that was my chance to sit down and do something for them.”

On Wednesday (Dec. 18), Harper will perform at The Buzz cafe. Please visit www.ericharper

music.com.

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