Re: Subject: [Harp-L] Brendan Power
I see from the email from Elizabeth, appended below, that she is not
familiar with Brendan Power's playing.
I occasionally see Brendan's name on harp-l, but as he is a fellow
Antipodean (that's Southern hemisphere, most readers being in the
I wonder just how many readers/lurkers/contributors do know his
playing. He seems to be mentioned most of all as a customiser.
I've been aware of Brendan since around 1979, when excellent (though
now invisible) West Australian harp man Michael Fagin (best known for
his work with WA. R'n'B outfit the 'Elks') played me some recordings of
him. He was no slouch then. It was sort of funky rock/blues if I
In the mid-nineties a friend gave me a cassette of his album "New Irish
harmonica". I was immediately impressed and ordered a copy of the CD.
It was not just great harmonica playing; nor was it just great
renditions of Irish tunes; it was a thoroughly entertaining record with
enough variety and interest to become a favourite in my household,
played over and over by my wife and sons (who generally don't play
'harmonica' recordings - wonder why?)
It is not easy to make a whole CD of solo harmonica that stands on its
own legs. I must confess, I haven't kept up with Brendan's recent
recordings, and I should probably make up for that soon.
I'm sure there is a lot of great stuff out there that I haven't heard,
but 'New Irish Harmonica' was a milestone for the harmonica, as far as
It is recorded largely on Brendan's custom tuned chromatics, with, I
think, the diatonic (Suzuki Promaster?) on some trax.
You can sample it on Amazon.com:
>>> <EGS1217@xxxxxxx> 15/06/2007 5:02:56 >>>
Walter responds to Brendan:
Thank you for the links, unfortunately only the second or middle link
worked, the other two gave me a 404 file not found error message."
...Walter..occasionally if you scan the parentheses just past the link
you'll get the error message...you might try typing it in instead, see
"My first question is, what instrument was that piece played on? I'm
a valved diatonic, but I know I may be wrong.
You have changed my mind about the potential of playing a chromatic
instrument as the tone on the piece I heard has balls, I hope you
mind the language."
...well, whether or not Brendan minded, you are putting that language
there for the entire international list to read. I personally have
overlook the "boys will be boys" language always accepted on this
list...actually find your use of "balls" much milder than some that
has passed muster
fairly recently, so feel free to express yourself, even though there
ladies present ;)
What I'm especially glad about is your realizing that half-valved
aren't all "wimpy" sounding as you'd previously stated. I had intended
respond to suggest you might want to give a listen to PT Gazell (I'm
that familiar with Brendan's playing)...but am quite familiar with
He's an amazingly good Jazz oriented player who has garnered a very
enthusiastic audience over the last few conventions I've
and Buckeye. And there's nothing "wimpy" about his playing. I'm now
interested in hearing more from Brendan, too.
"One thing this list has taught me is that there are a lot of great
players that I have never heard and know nothing about.
You piece has taught me that a great player like yourself controls the
of his instrument, the instrument doesn't dictate the tone to them.
Again, thank you for the links, I'd love to hear the other two if
Any suggestions on my stumbling blocks?
More specifically, how do I get tone like that on a chromatic
and how would you suggest I go about studying music theory, especially
applies to harmonica playing?
I want to add to that that one list member has already offered me
advice on how to proceed from an earlier post of mine and I am not
discounting that, I'm just looking for your perspective if you would be
enough to share it.
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