MANCHESTER HARMONICA DAY 18/4/2010 venue BAND ON THE WALL
The venue is a legendary live music club on swan st in the city centre with hotels within walking distance (one literally around the corner)
see video’s page for footage
“bugger me by gum It came and went all too soon” the first Manchester harmonica day started at 1pm finished at 5pm and it was great, me and the wife got there a bit early so we went for a coffee just around the corner and no word of a lie but what did I spot on the wall of the cafe, A framed print of sonny boy williamson II now that was an omen if ever there was one!!
Presented with comedic flair from Mat Walklate the well respected musician and teacher, there wasn’t a dry seat in the house, both MC and feature artist, Mat gave an enjoyable and interesting display of his vast harmonica collection, with an informative explanation of the workings and variety of harmonica and technique for beginner’s, and skillfully preached in this impromptu church of the harmonica with a wit and charm that was clearly enjoyed as much by the converted as the newly blessed brethren of the gob iron.
Then there was “THE BAND” who it has to be said where not only there to back the harp players but also clearly enjoying themselves, the tight and fluid musicians fitting right behind the various exponents of the tin sandwich, not all of which where actual pre booked artists, many players spontaneously climbed on stage at this open mic gig to blast out some expressive blues, jazz and trad Irish harp music both acoustic and electrified harp,
This was thanks to an array of dedicated amp’s converted especially for harmonica, each of the amps where demonstrated by Mat, while amplifier guru Nigel Briggs mr alnicomagnet explained without wading too deep in to the depths of technical jargon what was in them, and if you note the buzz on the out of the box amps in comparison to the same amp modified its amazing
(incidentally there are youtube clips of mat showcasing some of the amps by alnicomagnet if its a proper harp amp that is moded to suit harmonica without paying the earth for a rare and expensive 59 bassman you desire then you could do no better than to get a custom job from mr alnicomagnet based in bury Manchester)
Roger Trowbridge was on hand to represent and promote the national harmonica league.
There was a free raffle included in the VFM £5.00 TICKET prizes ranged from harmonica’s (now there’s a surprise) to £150 harp mic’s Bob Dylan collectors harp, tee shirts, caps plus an array of freebies from the manufacturers
In the bar (yes beery comestibles were sampled) was EAGLE MUSIC with a stall full of harmonica’s at a discount on already probably the best prices in the country, so a bargain was on offer and full advantage was taken judging by the constant crowds around the stall
So was this the first one day Manchester harmonica festival a success?
“ye bloody dead right cock” as they say up north
And as Manchester is about as central a point on the map you would care to to stick a pin in, I would hazard a guess as to say that this could be the very beginning of what hopefully may be the the acorn that could one day grow to become a mighty oak of a mid country mid summer fully blown harmonica festival -who knows!!!
if you would like to attend the next Manchester harmonica day please e-mail Mat Walklate expressing support and interest for this venue
Mat walklate is a professional music teacher (flute, harmonica, whistle and uilleann pipes) for details on current classes please e-mail Mat
credits for the organizing and participation of Manchester harmonica day
Mat walklate MC & feature artist-Matt Fahey: guitar, vocal-Anthony Haller: bass-Pete Wherry: keys-Dave Taylor: keys-Dave Eatock: accordion-Paul O'Sullivan got up and played guitar on 'Stormy Monday'-John Jones and Brian(don't know surname) did solo chromatic pieces-Pat Clarke played harp and sang.- plus all the numerous open mic harmonica players.