Heather Hardy Rouses 2nd Saturdays With Her Electric Violin
By Teya Vitu
It should be no surprise to see Heather Hardy as the headliner for the monthly 2nd Saturdays concerts at the Amity Foundation’s Dragonfly Gallery, 146 E. Broadway.
The soul blues electric violinist and leader of the Heather Lil’ Mama Hardy band performs the club scene and festival circuit here, in New York and elsewhere (even six solo violin concerts in California prisons). But she never gets too far away from Amity, a resident addiction treatment community or its Dragonfly Village family treatment center.
“I’ll perform for them. I’ll volunteer,” Hardy said. “I’m a 1990 alumnus. That’s what brought me to Tucson.”
Hardy will play her third 2nd Saturdays on Nov. 10 from 6 to 10 p.m.
“We’re trying to get people to dance. The music is a little more contemporary, a little more danceable,” Hardy said.
Hardy’s long red hair is as much a part of her performance as her electric violin. She keeps her hair free-flowing and often enough it partially or entirely shrouds her face as she’s playing.
“People get very excited about that,” Hardy said.
Hardy’s performance is part of 2nd Saturdays but it’s equally for families in treatment at Dragonfly Village on the East Side.
“We want to create a fun event for families at Dragonfly Village and the families living in the community. We want to blend that,” she said.
Hardy was classically trained at the Manhattan School of Music.
“I starting playing in the subway to make money,” she said. “I started meeting people from all kinds of music. That’s when I fell in love with improvisational music.”
While living in Tucson from 1989 to 1996, she joined the Sam Taylor Blues Band and blues has been her focal point ever since. Hardy returned to New York and started her own Lil’ Mama band but came back west in 2002.
“I’m a mom,” Hardy said. “I had moved to Oakland for a minute. For a freelance musician, Tucson is the place to be.”
Hardy started playing at Dragonfly Gallery for 2nd Saturdays in September. She intends to become a 2nd Saturdays monthly fixture, whether with Lil’ Mama or with other bands.