PARIS — Grammy-nominated composer and performer Deborah Henson-Conant plays an instrument that looks like a futuristic 36-string guitar, a blue triangle of strings — which didn’t exist until she dreamed it up.

Her voice has been compared to Carly Simon and Joan Baez, her playing to Chuck Berry and her look to Xena, the Warrior Princess.

Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29, she will perform at Celebration Barn.

Henson-Conant’s concerts are a modern-day reinvention of the classic musician-entertainer of the ’30s, weaving stories, music and humor into an experience that blurs the line between music and theater.

The New York Times calls her a musical pioneer, “reshaping the serenely Olympian harp into a jazz instrument by warping it closer to the blues.”

“People are often surprised that the show is so funny, or that I play the blues, or that I belt out songs,” Henson-Conant said in a prepared statement. “Men pull me aside confidentially after the show and whisper, ‘My wife dragged me here kicking, but I loved it!'”

“One of my favorite reactions,” she continued, “is when people tell me they’re inspired to reconnect with their own passions — people who’ve gone home after the show and pulled out their old guitar, or started singing or drawing or writing again. Something about the way I perform seems to give them a sense of artistic permission in their own lives.”

Henson-Conant has toured as a Boston Pops soloist, opened for Ray Charles, starred in music specials for PBS, hosted TV shows for BET and BBC, performed worldwide (in English, French and German) and jammed onstage and off with Bobbie McFerrin, Doc Severinsen and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

She has released more than a dozen albums, including three major label releases and her Grammy-nominated “Invention & Alchemy.”

Henson-Conant will perform in a Meet the Artists presentation featuring The Harp-Breakers at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28, and a solo concert also at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Meet the Artist tickets are $8, all seats. Concert tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and students. Reservations are encouraged. For tickets, call 743-8452.

Celebration Barn Theater is on Stock Farm Road, just off Route 117. For more information, visit

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