Photo: Kyla McDonald

A helping hand for harmonicas

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By Kara Hiltz

Jerome Godboo can’t believe that the Toronto Blues Society has made him the host of the Harmonica workshop at the Horseshoe this Saturday.

“I’m fucking the system constantly,” says the experimental harmonica player. “I’m one of those artists that really doesn’t have time to worry about people thinking of [him] in one way or another.” Having just released an album of punk blues, his next will be a funk rap blues project. Hardly conventional.

Godboo, along with World Harmonica Champion Carlos del Junco, raunchy blueist Michael Pickett, country harpist Roly Platt, Mark Strafford and old timer Little Mack Simons are gearing up to introduce the harmonica to newcomers and even show veterans a thing or two.

Each harpist will devote a half hour to the audience, highlighting their personal expertise, from country to the blues. The musicians will contribute a section to a makeshift manual which highlights everything from the basics to maintenance and repairs. The workshop participants “are not gonna just be able to figure out what’s going on from the book, but it’s also gonna be a show.”

Godboo says the harmonica is the perfect instrument for “people who are naturally musical but don’t have a real concentrated drive to do anything” — lazy people who can’t be bothered to practice for hours on end. The harmonica is an instrument that you can have with you all the time and, more importantly, says Godboo, “It’s built to be easy to play.”

Convinced that he will be playing the harmonica until the day he dies, Godboo has a personal agenda for the workshop. “A lot of people don’t realize that the harmonica is a real musical instrument. I’m gonna open their minds.” Godboo says he is “modernizing the whole thing.” That’s right kids, the harmonica’s not just for dad anymore.

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