Zeena Parkins

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  • New York, NY

Artist Biography

Zeena Parkins, multi-instrumentalist, composer, improvisor, well-known as a pioneer of the electric harp, has also extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of digital and analog processing. Zeena makes use of anything within reach as a possible tool with which she can enhance the sonic capabilities of her harps. She accurately describes her harp as a "sound machine of limitless capacity" and has used, household objects and hardware store finds, including: alligator clips, nails, rubber erasers, rubber tubing, felt, bows, metal candy lids, oversized metal bolts, hair clips, glass jars, discarded strings, as well as more conventional: leslie cabinets, guitar pedals, and numerous other digital processing hardware and assorted and varied software.

Parkins has appeared on over 70 CD's and in hundreds of concerts in both large and small spaces all over the world. A lightning bolt of a performer, Zeena is a sought after collaborator, performing with Jim O'Rourke, Nels Cline, Lee Renaldo, Bjork, Kaffe Matthews (Weightless Animals), Thurston Moore, Pauline Oliveros and many others.

Selected Press

Her style defeats categorization, and is therefore all the more interesting.
New York Times
Zeena Parkins... is my favorite living harpist... kucks of sonic gristle that she pulls from it are dandy as jack. A truely ginchy exploration of forgotten string potential.
Parkins takes her celestial axe-heretofore thought of as delicate - and gets tough, unafraid of its recourse. It's what some listeners used to call abstract lyricism, and the way Parkins deftly deploys her spur-of-the-moment ideas is refreshing.
The New Paper