Re: [Harp-L] SPAH and me

I am with you and am interested in the same ideas.  I have found the amount
of work in a variety of genres increased dramatically by putting your ideas
into effect.  Perhaps you should run a seminar next year?
Michael Rubin

On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 9:03 AM, rosco <roscoharp@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I'm a bad Harp-l citizen! Seems I'm one of those people who only post to
> Harp-l when I'm trying to promote something I did or something I'm going to
> do. In my defense, the biggest reason for that is that almost EVERYONE on
> this list knows more about how harps work, the history of harmonica, and
> how to play the thing than I do. I usually have nothing to add to the
> discussions. But I am a regular reader and I think Harp-l is a fantastic
> resource for our community. So...this post is both a promotional one and, I
> hope, the springboard for discussion.
> My thoughts on my SPAH experience:
> SPAH is awesome, and anyone who is interested in harmonica and hasn't
> attended a SPAH should go! I tell everyone that, and I believe it! When I
> was first learning to play harp, SPAH was incredibly inspiring. In those
> days I was playing mainly blues, and for a blues guy, SPAH is heaven. As I
> expanded the styles of music I wanted to play, there wasn't as much to gain
> musically from SPAH. SPAH is maybe 50% blues oriented? And the rest is
> split up into Jazz Chro, country, a little folk, and some miscellaneous
> personality driven music (classical, Celtic, etc.). For me,SPAH has became
> less and less about the performances and seminars, and more about the close
> friendships I've made and that I'm still making in the harp community. This
> is not necessarily an indictment of SPAH - the convention seems to please
> most of the attendees...but it MIGHT be an indictment of our harmonica
> community in general. There is a huge range of music where our instrument
> is very under-represented. These days I'm involved with singer/songwriters
> and bands that play original Americana,  pop, and rock. These genres are
> what I mostly listen to, as do millions of other music fans, and they are
> what I want to play! And would I love to hear more of on 'our' instrument
> played by others in this larger universe of music. It seems there isn't
> much instruction or discussion oriented towards making harp a legitimate
> 'band' instrument outside of blues...maybe there isn't much interest, but
> the A in SPAH stands for ADVANCEMENT.
> Here are some of the things I'm interested in that I've learned through
> years of trial and error: trying to make  harp fit without always
> shoehorning a solo in; playing 'parts' with bandmates; playing the melody;
> laying out for a verse or two while the song builds (or just LAYING OUT
> ALTOGETHER!); playing long tones with varied vibrato; finding a part that
> makes a chorus 'pop' - that kind of stuff. (I think of my harp as playing
> violin-like lines when I'm comping behind a singer.) There is not much of
> this at SPAH. Even the best performances are usually so harp-centric that
> they wear out my ears...and I LOVE harp! I'm sure someone somewhere at SPAH
> sang a song with harmony vocals and sweet harp fills, but I missed it. I
> miss it every time I go. There is an emphasis on blues and jazz that is
> understandable - most players fall somewhere along that continuum.  I don't
> hear harp used much to accompany a singer or to fit into the song as a
> 'real' band instrument and not just to solo. I hear some, sure,  but not a
> lot. Maybe there isn't much interest in this kind of playing? Or maybe we
> slot ourselves too easily into what we are expected to play? I love Blues,
> but I think there is a lot of untapped potential for harmonica in other
> forms of music.
> Anyway, I just put this on Facebook:
> 'I just got back from a large gathering of harmonica players from all over
> the world. There were some truly great performances by harmonica
> wizards....but I missed hearing actual songs! Harmonica can be used as much
> more than just a blues instrument or for a flashy solo break! I've been
> trying to make harp work in 'songs' for a long time, and now I've written
> and recorded an album with that philosophy.'
> You can listen to 4 of my songs here:
> --
> Later,
> Ron 'Rosco' Selley
> <>

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.