Harfe und Erzählkunst (The Harp and Storytelling)
Follow your own path and believe in your own kind of magic. Sometimes I am insecure because there are many excellent storytellers around the globe, even here in Switzerland, but then again, no-one does what I do in the exact that way I do it. Storytelling and playing music – perhaps art in general – it is about finding your own voice, and when you have found it, you will be heard. Don’t let your fears stop you! Building a dream takes time – I have not yet reached the goals I have set for myself when it comes to my art – but I also do believe that what’s meant for you won’t pass you by if you do your part to make them happen.
Isabelle Hauser is a storyteller, spinning her magic in stories from around the world to people of all ages, in a wide range of settings. To view her website in English, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Union Jack. And to go back to German, click on the Bundesflagge (Federal Flag of Germany).
She lives in Switzerland, but is absolutely willing to travel for performances. Not only does Isabelle tell marvelous, magical tales, but she is also accomplished on the harp! Enjoy her presentations at storytelling festivals, schools, business workshops, birthday parties, yoga classes (really) or groups with senior citizens.
After studying piano for ten years, Isabelle began playing the harp at the age of 20. It turned out to be the musical love she had always imagined. After completing her Master’s degree in Human Resources, she spent a few months in Northern Ireland, learning the craft of storytelling. Her mentor runs a small tourist hostel outside a tiny Irish village, interacting with other tourism venues.
Isabelle also had a harp while in Ireland, and through the weekly storytelling sessions at the hostel, she gradually overcame her performance anxiety. She says that back then, she wouldn’t have dreamed that she could ever enjoy playing her harp for other people. Now, it’s one of her greatest passions.
Stories and Music delight people everywhere
My heart beats especially for Irish mythology, but I also love discovering other countries and cultures through their lore, particularly my own (Swiss culture). I discovered a wealth of stories about my hometown itself, and I love exploring the world through the individual lore of places – and sharing this with people.
Have a listen to Isabelle’s harp and a couple of her stories on her website. Even if German is unfamiliar to you, the lilting cadence of her words and the sounds of her harp are like gentle rain on your soul. Forget the cares of your day. Let Isabelle set the mood with a tune, then go with her to long ago and far away in a story, and back again with another tune.
If English is your native language, visit Isabelle’s Agenda page and listen to ‘Oh, Jack!’, a podcast for which she was guest host. Click on the graphic and you’ll be taken to another page. Find the podcast in the menu on the right side.
A Fairytale Career
Since returning to Switzerland in 2012, Isabelle has been sharing the magic of harp and storytelling there. She still works for a large company Human Relations, so finding time to perform can be a challenge. But her corporate work is a people business, and people always bring more real-life stories. Daily interaction provides ever more material. Isabelle would welcome more gigs, of course. However, she can perform for the sheer love of it, without the pressure of having to make a living from it.
I am determined to keep pursuing my art dream. Harp and storytelling is not a hobby, but an essential part of who I am and I love that my passion brings so much joy to other people. Over the past few years, I have also been working on building a network with other performers, to share the journey and the adventures, so I try to regularly attend international conventions and storytelling festivals.
Now that her website is published, as well as the branding, Isabelle is set to take a more active part in creating new projects. Prospects for storytelling can now listen to samples online. She’s collaborating with an Irish harper and also an American storytelling podcast, which she hopes to expand. Her short term dream is to be invited to be a featured teller at a storytelling festival. The goal is to have more and more time to dedicate to her business.
Branding the Art
For a long time I had been carrying around the idea of the hand-drawn harp with a feather as a sounding board. I found Autumn Lane Paperie on Google, and at the sight of that very first image that came up in the search for “Watercolor Logo”, I knew that I had found an agency with the spirit that I was looking for. The questionnaire was super helpful for me to really think about what colours and fonts I wanted for my logo, and made me refine the vision and mission for my business.
The fact that I am living on the other side of the world was never an issue – quite the contrary: I was often working late nights on my branding project, which was the middle of the day for Lily, so sometimes I would get an immediate reply. Lily was super fast, for example in sending me the first drafts of the logo, and I was absolutely stunned by them. In fact, it took me several days to decide which one of them I liked best!
Lily managed to capture the essence of who I am, what I do and what I want my business to express – everyone who has seen my logo, from acquaintances to close friends and family, have confirmed that. Whenever someone sees it for the first time, the reaction is always, “This is so YOU!”. And I myself just cannot stop looking at it!
Having that logo (and the collateral items that came with it) have really boosted my confidence as an artist and given my work a “face”, so to speak. Now, playing the harp and telling stories is no longer just something I do and tell people about, but it is actually tangible, especially now that I also have the website that Kate helped me set up! With the branded stationery, it is a joy to write invoices, and dropping someone a note is so much more fun with my own postcards, and a sticker with my logo to seal the envelope with!
Also, having a brand of my own makes it easier to approach businesses to acquire more gigs and projects, it is not only super professional, but also gives them a chance to see what I do, without actually having to talk to me.
Hills and Valleys
Keeping in mind that Isabelle still works nearly full time in her corporate job, time is a challenge. Many late nights were spent during the branding process, and she must intentionally carve out time to rehearse for an upcoming gig.
As a performing artist, self-doubt can creep in. And there is sometimes the nagging thought that she’s only one artist among many. It can erode confidence. But Isabelle smiles when she shares her delight in her unique brand that definitely boosts her confidence.
Serendipity has blessed Isabelle’s journey. Recently she toured with an Irish harper and another musician, with a program of Celtic stories and music. They’re still doing gigs together. A girl who stayed at the Irish storyteller’s hostel at the same time as Isabelle now runs a storytelling podcast in the US. She’s asked Isabelle to be a regular guest host on the podcast.
On a more personal level, although time has been scarce all these years, I never gave up on my dream. It is scary sometimes to put yourself out there, go out on stage, put my heart and soul into a tune or a story, but I never let my fears of not being good enough stop me. And my heart glows every time someone comes to me after a gig or individual harp session, saying that a story or a tune has touched them. That has happened sometimes, and it is my greatest joy to bring joy to others with what I love to do.