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Ursula Burns is the most Dangerous Harpist in the World



The songwriter from Belfast has five independently released albums - the most recent "The Dangerous Harpist". Her Debut 'According to Ursula Burns' was nominated for a hot press award. She has toured the world with her music and has written a wealth of music for theatre and Circus including "Little Red Riding Hood" with the Lyric Theatre and "The snail and the Whale". Ursula talks to us about her experience of being a mother and an artist and how it takes everyone’s involvement.


Tell us in a few sentences who you are and what/how you create.

Hi, my name is Ursula Burns also known as the dangerous harpist. I am a songwriter, composer and harpist from Belfast. I am presently working on my 6th studio album which received some funding from The Arts Council of NI. I work in Comedy, Music, Theatre and Circus.


Have you felt that being a mother is a driving force behind your creativity, if so how?

I have always written songs for as long as I can remember. It is how I process the outside world and my inner emotional world. Having my son is the most creative experience I have ever had. Giving birth to another human being is profound and terrifying and the joys and challenges are incomparable to anything else in the world. The driving force behind my creativity is emotion and as a parent you experience all the emotions.

As a mother can you think of any mother related challenges you have come up against during the process, of not only creating but maintaining your creative practice?

Exhaustion is the enemy where creativity is concerned. My son was an early riser and the mornings were always my most creative time. It’s usually about surrendering the notion that you will achieve anything beyond the daily tasks and snatch the moments to work whether the inspiration is there or not.


What advice would you give to any mothers looking to start a similar business?

As a touring performer I brought my son with me a lot on tour and I could not have managed it without the help of everyone along the way - particularly relations and families who had children the same age. Also, my sons Step mum and his dad were a massive support in allowing me to continue my touring work. It took everyone’s help.


Can you tell us who your favourite historical mother/woman is and why?

My Granny - She was kind and gentle and had a brilliant sense of humour. She brought up 9 children in very tough conditions and kept chickens. I always admired her gentle loving nature.


Words and images: Ursula Burns



Live recording of "Starlings in the Storm" featuring Piano and Harp. Filmed by Benén Dillon with Ciaran Devlin-Rushe on sound ,in the Beauty Room at Vault Artist Studios.


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