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Re: Be Happy

Posted by Jon on February 6, 2010, 6:52 pm, in reply to "Re: Be Happy"

He's a cool dude. Magic with the mic, chest-pounding dulcimer sounds from the air explosions through his vocal "chords." Sound on sound.

In some ways he reminds me of Sam Hinton, who could play two parts at the same time on a harmonica stuffed in his mouth while accompanying himself on guitar. He could also play a harmonica stuffed in his mouth and sing at the same time. He was a friend and a PhD oceanographer at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla.

"Employing the tongue blocking technique, he would sound and hold the lowest blow-hole note on the instrument with the left hand side of his mouth, while simultaneously playing the blow-hole notes with the right hand side of his mouth until his breath ran out. As Sam explains, “It’s what I call a ‘bagpipe imitation,’ using bugle calls as the melody -- bugles play only part of the scale and those notes are available as blow notes on the diatonic harmonica. Much later I discovered that one note -- the fifth tone in the diatonic scale -- is available as both a blow tone at hole three and a draw tone on hole two, and I applied that to the fiddle tune, ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat,’ which fiddlers often play with a drone effect on an open string.”

"Sam’s interpretation of “Bonaparte’s Retreat” features melody, rhythmic chords and Sam’s marvelous invention of playing a drone note throughout the parts of the melody. Sam achieves this technique by blocking the middle holes of the harmonica with his tongue, and playing the fifth note of the key -- the B flat note on an E flat diatonic harmonica -- on the low end of the harmonica (on both the hole two blow note and the hole 3 draw note) all while playing the melody on the right side of his mouth."

He was a oner who was sort of a Bobby McFerrin of folk and a Bonzai Buckaroo of science and art who "played old songs for young people." He was also a folklorist and a kind and generous man. (How did I get off on this tangent? Oh well.)

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