Sunday, 4 November 2012

Harmonica Masters Of New Zealand

New Zealand’s finest harmonica players and their own songs on one album. Such a compilation has never been attempted before. These are the players who may be gigging at your local pub, performing at the many festivals around the country, supporting high profile overseas acts, or touring the world as ambassadors for New Zealand music. Each player has their own style and though today the harmonica is mostly associated with blues and country music, there are funk, rock, Irish and folk influences to be heard on this album. Eleven of the songs were recorded live during a three day session at Montage Recording Studios in Grey Lynn, Auckland. This created an opportunity for old friends to reunite, new friends to swap tales from the road and for some, to get their music recorded for the first time.

The harmonica is a young instrument, born in Germany and New York at about the same time in the early 1800’s. Its simple design and versatility as a rhythm or lead instrument, made it both affordable and popular. Portable and suited to folk music, the harmonica was soon the world’s largest selling instrument. By the early 1900’s the harmonica had become a staple ingredient of American “blues” music; used to imitate trains, whistles, birds and even the human voice. Today it can be heard in all musical styles. Whether played acoustically or amplified, the soulful sound of the harmonica is as instantly recognisable and appealing as it was two centuries ago. Small, simple and still the world’s most popular instrument.

From the country to the city, these are the roots of New Zealand music and the Masters of the Harmonica.