A New Discovery for me: Indian Blues Band Soulmate

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment
Well, once again the Blues Asia Network has introduced me to yet another phenomenal blues band. Based in India, Soulmate features Rudy Wallang (Guitar/Vocals/Songwriter) and Tipriti TIPS Kharbangar (Vocals/Guitar). The combination of Rudy’s tasteful guitar playing and Tipriti’s powerful vocals makes Soulmate a band to be reckoned with.

Currently Soulmate have released only two albums to date entitled Shillong and Moving On. According to a wikipedia entry:

Soulmate is a north-east India based Blues band, which according to their myspace page “… came together in Shillong, in February 2003 playing their first concert at the ‘Roots Festival at the Water Sports Complex in Umiam. Since then the band has performed many concerts all over The Northeast as well as in different parts of India,Southeast Asia,Europe,The Middle East and The USA. ”

Soulmate gained nationwide recognition and popularity within the Jazz and Blues circles in India after they became the only Blues band to represent the country (Courtesy The Blues Club of India) at the 23rd International Blues Challenge organized by The Blues Foundation of America, in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, in February 2007. They were semi-finalists and performed at The Rum Boogie Café (Blues Club of The Year) alongside 150 other bands and musicians from all over the world.

Voodoo Woman


You can find out more information about Soulmate at their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/soulmateshillong


Categories: Blues, Music Tags: , , , , ,

Brendan Power with the Bleu Rascals playing Harmonica Man

January 3, 2012 1 comment

Just saw an excellent video of Brendan Power playing with a young Filipino blues band called the Bleu Rascals on the latest Blues Asia Network show. Brendan was on tour in Asia recently and while in the Philippines conducting a clinic/concert was captured on video playing with this up-and-coming blues band. Brendan is in flying form and plays a searing harmonica on the song Harmonica Man. According to Blues Asia Network the Bleu Rascals will be representing the Philippines at the upcoming International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Embedded below you will see Brendan’s performance with the Bleu Rascals and also the most recent Blues Asia Network show.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Here in China the first of our two New Years is almost upon us. With less than three hours or so left to go I find myself thinking about what I want to achieve in the coming year. Here New Year as defined on the Gregorian calendar is not celebrated as much as the Chinese New Year or Spring festival which this year arrives during the last week of January according to the Chinese calendar.

As the clock winds down, I will pause for a few moments of reflection. I will think about what has past and what is to come and I will continually look forward. To live life fully is to make your tomorrows better than your todays. Onwards and upwards good people!

I want to thank everyone who as visited my blog in the past year for taking the time out of your lives to read what I have written. I wish  each and every one of you a very Happy New Year. Make it a great one, harmonically and otherwise, that’s what I plan to do.

Lee Sankey’s Tongue Blocking Series Continues with Bill’s Blues

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Lee is back with a great set of videos that tie together all the tongue blocking techniques and ideas he has presented in previous lessons.  The first two videos introduce  the head of an instrumental piece called Bill’s Blues, a tribute to William Clarke. The third video puts it all together and Lee improvises wonderfully, showing what can be done when you start with a great head and then draw on your lick vocabulary and place them appropriately. The final video is a swinging, jazzy, foot-stomper!


Here are the descriptions from the videos themselves:

Part 1 of a walkthrough of ‘Bill’s Blues’ by Lee Sankey which brings together the techniques Lee has covered so far in his video tutorial series on tongue blocking for the blues harmonica. “Bill’s Blues” is dedicated to late great William Clarke and uses a A harp in 3rd position (key of B). This video lesson covers the first section of the head which intermediate players will be able to tackle. Part 2 deals the remainder of the head which is suitable for more advanced players.

Part 2 of a walkthrough of ‘Bill’s Blues’. We take things up a notch here and the riffs will challenge intermediate players. This tune provides a great way to practise the techniques Lee has explained in his video series on harmonica tongue blocking.


Categories: Blues, Harmonica, Music Tags: , ,

Doctor Isaiah Ross

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Doctor Ross was one of the very first blues musicians I ever heard. His one man band, rhythm pumping machine establishes an infectious groove that has you tapping your foot every time. Thanks to the miracle that is the internet and Youtube you can now see videos of this great blues musician.

The first video embedded below is of Doctor Ross performing “Feel So Good” on the American Folk Blues video from 1965. Here we can see Ross in full flight with his drum, guitar, harmonica ad vocals all working together to great a massive sound and a solid groove.

The second video is less well known it seems (only 445 views on Youtube compared with the 41,346 views for the first video at the time of writing) and sees Doc Ross performing “Freight Train” with just acoustic harmonica at the 1982 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. . An excellent example of a train blues.

Categories: Blues, Harmonica, Music Tags: , ,

Blow Bending and Hohner Thunderbird

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I often find that techniques and skills I am trying to acquire on the harmonica come of their own accord. To each skill there is assigned a specified time that has to pass before that a breakthrough is made. That specified time period is different for each person and dependent on how much time they put in acquiring that skill. Sometimes intense woodshedding needs to be done and other times you need to leave space and revisit the technique regularly creating muscle memory. For me this idea was proven yet again when I finally managed to tongue-block blow bend. The technique still requires serious amounts of work, but the breakthrough has been made and a relaxed TB’ed blow bend was sounded. Nice!

In other news I finally ordered a Hohner Thunderbird in the key of Low-F. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on it. Since no one offered to get it for me for Christmas despite my request on a previous post here, I ordered it for myself as a special treat. When I get it and test drive it a bit I will post a review. I am expecting great things!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Categories: Blues, Harmonica, Music Tags: ,

Joe Filisko and Eric Noden with Steve Baker at Trossingen 2011

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, due to the acquisition of a new apartment, being sick and things being crazy at work, I have been away for some time. However, I have returned and searching around on Youtube today I came across this wonderful performance by Joe Filisko and Eric Noden with Steve Baker at the Harmonica Masters in Trossingen, Germany. This is what music is all about, just having fun. A great old-time jug band number. Enjoy!

Categories: Blues, Harmonica, Music Tags: , ,

Joe Filisko – Bye Bye Bird on a Low-Low F Thunderbird Harp

October 9, 2011 1 comment

Here is Joe Filisko captivating a crowd yet again in Frankfurt with his own rendition of Sony Boy Williamson II’s Bye Bye Bird on a Low-Low F Hohner Thunderbird harmonica. Watch out for Joe including his show-piece: playing the harmonica with no hands. I especially like the way Joe controls the crowds attention by changing up the dynamics of what he plays.  A great example of how a solo harmonica piece can entertain a crowd.

I look forward to getting my hands on one of these very low harps and taking it for a test drive. Christmas gift anyone? 😉


Categories: Blues, Harmonica, Music Tags: ,

Whoopin’ The Blues – Joe Filisko and Eric Noden

October 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is an excellent performance by Joe Filisko and Eric Noden of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee’s Whoopin’ The Blues. Just awesome playing by Joe Filisko as usual.



Categories: Blues, Harmonica, Music Tags: ,

Lee Sankey – Using Tongue Blocked Single Notes

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Lee Sankey continues his in-depth series of instructional videos covering tongue-blocking. Moving on from the previous video which covered the production of single notes on the harmonica using the tongue-block embouchure, Lee provides well structured exercises for players to develop more fluid transitions from note to note on the harmonica as they start out on their tongue-blocking journey.

Tongued-blocked playing is something that has become more and more natural to me over the years, but I still get a lot from Lee’s videos. It is always worthwhile getting a new perspective on a topic that you think you know well. Sometimes another player’s approach to a phrase or ideas of movement can be subtly different from your own and yet lead to new insights and breakthroughs on the instrument. The exercises shown in the videos build on each other and allow a player to progress in a structured fashion and if you have been playing for a while they can become another exercise to add to your set of daily workouts on the harmonica.

In addition to all this Lee gives pointers to those players who may be making the transition from lip-pursing and he demonstrates how tongue-blocking can be added into your playing slowly rather than having to make a straight conversion all in one go. I know that the switch was a gradual one for me too. An interesting aspect of this video is the introduction of a rhythm to play behind or comp the main run of notes that are being played. This is a stimulating way to get playing interesting stuff right off the mark. Lee also gives suggestions about how to experiment with the phrase he lays down.

The simple run laid down in the video sounds great and as you play you cannot help but deviate from it and create new ideas, all the while maintaining that underlying rhythmic vamp.

At the end of the video there is the promise that the next video will take it up another notch. Great stuff!

Categories: Blues, Harmonica, Music Tags: