In the quirky realm of “Internet Sensations”—ya know, the mostly meaningless, junky stuff with no staying power like “Gangnam Style” and “It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time” and anything that caused Justin Bieber to get a legitimate recording contract and career—there seems to be a flavor-of-the-minute almost daily.
Wanna see the idiocy of the world? Watch Mylie Cyrus’ horrifically embarrassing and strangely pathetic twerking vid from 2013’s MTV Video Music Awards broadcast. Or you can watch any number of idiots engaged in backyard “wrestling”.
Wastes of protoplasm, all.
Sometimes, though, ya just plain get lucky and stumble across a real gem out there in the void. That would be people like that weird couple, Cleary & Harding, who did that table hand-slapping thing (“Hands—Up & Over It”). Can Cleary & Harding make a living doing table-based choreography? I dunno, and I don’t give a rat’s derrière: that one video justifies their place on the planet.
There is another talented duo who can thank YouTube for their place in the iVerse. [They can also thank the overly generous bounty that Mother Nature saw fit to bestow upon them.] They occupy a unique realm in the cyber world: they are identical twins with classical musical leanings.
Only, these femmes rework heavy metal and hard rock tunes to suit their instruments, a pair of ebony electric harps (!) that they strap on and wield in a swaying and grinding womanly version of your favorite he-man crotch-rocketeer shredding your face as he slashes through a screaming Flying V solo.
Their names are Camille and Kennerly Kitt. They are blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordic goddesses. And these lean, mean, harp-playin’ machines have a talent that needs to be seen as well as heard.Credit: underradiorock.comIt’s why I am madly in love with The Harp Twins.
Being a former private investigator has some advantages. It gives you intuition into things and leads you down certain bramble overgrown paths you may not otherwise consider.
In the case of Internet and global musical sensations The Harp Twins their website is contains a lot of good, albeit, superficial information. Sure, sure, it tells you a bunch of stuff about them, but it’s stuff they want you to know, not stuff you might really like to know.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
First, these drop-dead gorgeous gals don’t give you a lot to go on with respect to their biographical data. Through some effort I found out a few fun facts to get us on our way.
One thing that plagued me was trying to determine their age. Camille and Kennerly Kitt are young women, not girls. However, nowhere in any of their bio data or in any interview are their ages ever mentioned, alluded to, or asked after. In this respect they are just as cagey as the wildly talented and stunningly beautiful Máiréad Nesbitt (the whirling, corseted, blond doll fiddler with the vocal group, Celtic Woman). Máiréad’s take on questions about her age had always been that it wasn’t a question ever asked of male musicians. To her, it wasn’t relevant in an interview situation; queries about her age had nothing to do with her music.
So, too, perhaps, the Kitt sisters may feel similarly. Their birth date is not noted in any of the material readily available on them (and because they are fairly new to the pop culture scene, only coming to greater notice within the past two or three years, there is but scanty relevant information out there on them).
But guess what, kids? I found out some stuff, and I’m gonna share it with you so you will learn to love these harpist hotties as I do.
First, despite their obviously Scandinavian heritage Camille and Kennerly were born in the US, and it seems as if Illinois is their place of birth, specifically the Chicago area. Their heritage includes mostly Norwegian, with a smattering of Swedish, Finnish, English, Scottish, French, German,and a tot Cherokee Indian. There is at least one other sibling, a brother, in the fam as well.
Here’s something else amusing: their last name wasn’t always “Kitt”! These gals were born as Camille Karie and Kennerly Caye with a different surname, Diebold. It can only be presumed they initially selected the alliterative “Kitt” as a stage moniker; when pronouncing their names as a unit (“Camille and Kennerly Kitt”) that handle sure does have a sweet ring to it, dunnit? Through a legal name change they are now and forever “Kitt”, though.
As for the age thing? Based on what I could figure out (kind of what I hadda do with the lovely Maid Máiréad when I wrote about her) The Harp Twins, as 2016 approaches, are most likely 24 or 25 years old. So, unless they were child prodigies who started college early and entered the entertainment world early as well, they were probably born around 1990 or 1991, okay? There, now that’s behind us (and still not relevant—Máiréad Nesbitt is right).
Oh, and Kennerly is the younger of the pair (I’m gonna guess by a minute or two, but still the “baby”). And while these women are just as close to identical as any pair of identical twins I’ve even seen in my life Kennerly claims the quickest way to tell them apart is that she has a freckle on the right side of her mouth that her sister does not have. [Sheesh, she might as well tell ya she has a mutant gene in her cell structure for all the good the “freckle” story does anyone watching a fast moving video!]
I found a better way, though, that doesn’t involve microscopy or “play”/“pause”/“play”/“pause” to try and isolate a single head-on frame of film footage to see a freckle!
It has to do with the size of one particular physical feature. No, it’s not by looking at their cabooses and making the call, sizzle chest: it appears almost consistently that Kennerly’s face is a just a tiny bit rounder and fuller than Camille’s. And in photos and videos the pair usually appears in “alphabetical order” (though they DO mix it up from time to time, so you can’t go by that consistently).
Unless, of course, I have that reversed and it is Camille who has the slightly fuller face!
God, Guns, and Country
The girls are apparently overachievers of the type most average kids love to hate (not me—as an overachieving youth myself I couldn’t understand why others weren’t keeping up). These future Web stars took up piano at an early age, stating that by the time they took an interest in the harp (when they were reaching their dotage in the Middle School years) they’d already been tickling the ivories for six years.
It was the harp that both found fascinating, though, and they procured a second-hand one for them to learn with. Self taught and later under the tutelage of two respected harp instructors the girls found they needed a second harp so they could duet.
And lest anyone think these young women did not have to work to get where they are, they odd-jobbed it: walking dogs, babysitting, and—get this—doing office work to help pay for their first instruments, a pair of used Lyon & Healy Prelude models. And even used these aren’t cheap, especially for a middle-school kid doing office work! So, that meant a lot of shlepping around to git-’r’-done. [In contrast, new electric harps like the twins now mostly play run around $6,000, still a tidy chunk of change; smaller, lesser electrics can start out around $900.]
The Kitt kids learned sign language; with this skill they volunteered for over six years at a monthly social gathering of people who were deaf or otherwise hard of hearing. And they weren’t all about academics and music, either. They took up horseback riding; they developed into child competitive swimmers, with each of them qualifying for the Junior Olympics five times. [Dontcha just hate ’em?]
In their online videos the Kitts come off as quietly sexy and sensual, swaying and rocking with their harps strapped on, the wind blowing through their long, flowing blond hair, their matching dresses outlining two very pleasing wimmen . . .
Considering their current sex kitten status online it may come as a surprise to learn the Kitt sisters are very conservative in many ways. They had taken up Tae Kwan Do in their youth, achieving advanced levels (third-degree black belts) and tutoring that martial arts discipline. They also took up riflery—nothing says Republican, Christian conservatism like a blond babe with a bazooka! [And despite the weapons’ training they aren’t hunters. In fact, they are vegetarians!]
As proof of their conservative leanings they attended Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois (roughly 25 miles—40 km—west of Chicago). This is a private, liberal-arts, Christian based college that costs (for the 2014-2015 academic year) over $31,000 in tuition alone! And since the Diebold babes entered the school’s Music Conservatory there’s extra money right there. [This school’s most famous alumnus is film director Wes Craven, who graduated from there in 1962; he died August 30, 2015, of brain cancer at age 76.]
To manage attending such an institution of higher education they started taking some college classes while still in high school. And then they spent time in a community college to knock out some of the gen-ed stuff before doing their final years at Wheaton. And, yes, with their outbound high school GPAs they no doubt had scholarships thrown at them left and right to help cover costs.
Now, I know, I know, when the debs matriculated it was several years ago and costs were probably cheaper, but Wheaton was still costly. No financial aid package covers every expense of college, so it is almost a certainty they busted their collective humps to stay in.
They started performing professionally when they were 17, using the name “Harp Reflections” for their act. [It was fans, though, who started calling them “The Harp Twins” and the name was semi-officially adopted later. I think they prefer to be called “Camille & Kennerly”.]
While in college they found they were growing tired of the typical harp music of the chamber ensemble variety most harpists had in their repertoire. So, they decided to take heavier material by Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and others and work that into melodies and compositions they could play on their harps. It is an interesting, haunting noise that results. Transcribing and transposing something, for example, as darkly edgy as Blue Öyster Cult’s classic rocker, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, to harp completely changes the feel of the song. In the hands of The Harp Twins the track, while already great as it was, becomes transcendent.
During their time at college they started to play out. Getting the ebony electric harps they use in most of their videos made it easier to lug gear and set up for them.
They graduated with perfect 4.0 GPAs. That doesn’t make me love them any less—hell, who doesn’t love a smart chick who is an expert musician?
Mistresses of Multi Media
It can only be surmised, since the date doesn’t seem to be recorded, that the ladies began using the stage name “Kitt” after they took their undergrad degrees from Wheaton in 2009.
Starting before college graduation, though, these were some bizzy babes. They played different shows, and began gaining national and then international attention, mostly because of the novelty of beautiful twin sisters who happened to play hard rock tunes on electric harps.
They’ve played a themed gig in Paraguay, The World Harp Festival (which usually honors outstanding harpists—the Kitts were there as performers).
They have also played before President Barack Obama and met Vice President Dick Cheney.Credit: blogspot.com
They were involved in the January 2012 issue of National Geographic. This issue included features about twins, and the Kitts were among those photographed for the articles. The photographer who shot them wrote a photo-essay book. In 2013 the Kitts were there to support him at the opening of an art gallery showing of some of his work. The women have also dabbled in acting, appearing in a handful of big screen films, in small roles. The most recent of these is a Vince Vaughan vehicle, 2013’s Delivery Man.
And in January 2015 they started a newsletter (called simply enough Camille & Kennerly News) for which you can sign up to receive online. [In their promotional pitch to get subscribers for it the Kitts made a promise that you wouldn’t get spammed nor flooded with junk. The newsletter is supposed to come out bimonthly, but with the current, rampant misuse of that word (should be once every other month) it may be issued once every two weeks. But, it is their oath your inbox won’t get clogged with Kitt-related e-mails. And, the gals were true to their word: to date, that’s all I've gotten in my e-mail, the newsletter. It details tour schedules and some other happenings, no lolz cats, no cutesy forwards. These wimmen mean bidness!]
Music, though, is where these beauties excel. Having started a YouTube channel (that features now over 70 of their video performances, including one recent release, Queensrÿche’s 1990s’ hit, “Silent Lucidity”, dropped on November 8, 2015), and having broken the 30-million view mark (late December 2015) they have found an audience enthralled by their electric harp treatments of killer rock tunes (as well as some classical pieces thrown in, too). The videos are almost all (with a couple or three exceptions) very professionally done, with the Kitts doing the editing. They feature the women in flamboyant or period costumes and dresses, in mostly exotic or bucolic or Goth settings. [Now if they would only get another favorite blond of mine, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, to sit in as a drummer to back their play, boy, that would be totally hot!]
But despite the visuals (and these women are extremely visually pleasing!!), the plain truth is Camille and Kennerly are very proficient musicians. They put a lot of thought and effort into their arrangements, and the results can be haunting, or joyous, or quietly disturbing dependent upon the piece and how they choose to present it. [And their version of “Carol of the Bells”, as a seasonal tune, is fan-freakin’-tastic!]
In 2013, they managed to compile two CDs’ worth of tracks. The first, Harp Attack, is their initial rock covers’ disc, with tunes by Metallica and AC/DC interspersed with material by The Cranberries and U2. The second full-length offering, Harp Fantasy, revisits music from movies and TV (themes from Star Trek and The Walking Dead) and soundtrack music from popular video games (like Silent Hill). And Harp Attack 2, a third full-lengther, became available in 2015. It, too, features metal and rock tunes from the 1960s up through the new millennium. There has also been some talk about their doing original material later on, too.
They maintain a Facebook page (with over 300,000 “likes” by late 2015, an impressive following). Unlike many celebs, though, they actually monitor this page themselves and reply to queries from their fans (dependent upon the nature of the question) with direct, and courteous, responses.
These two may end up as popular as any Kardashian sister (you know ’em: Krumpet, Ketchup, Klaxon, Klieg Light, Krab Kake, and Sluggo). Unlike the Kardashian broads, though, these wimmen have some genuine talent and deserve whatever stardom they may achieve—look out for these blondies in the future.
Sexy blond chicks who flash ebony Lyon & Healy “Silhouette” Electric harps like tail-gunners strafing an enemy fleet in stunning video settings?
So, tell me: why aren’t you madly in love with The Harp Twins, too?
Author’s Note: In early November 2015 I saw these gals live and for a meet ’n’ greet after the show. You can see how that went in a review. [Spoiler alert: they were fantastic!]