Archive for Harmonica

Carlos del Junco

Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 8:30pm

Carlos del Junco
$30 Advance / $35 Door *

Carlos del Junco: harmonica / vocals
Eric St. Laurent: guitars
Henry Heillig: bass
Danny Lockwood: drums

It’s probably a good thing Carlos wasn’t there when the harmonica appeared in North America in the 1860s. Neil Young and Bob Dylan can probably roll with it when he says they are very mediocre harmonica players. Aspiring harmonica players Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid might have overreacted and pulled out their pistols…

To say that Carlos is just a harmonica player is like saying Jimi Hendrix was just a guitar player. He blows the blues harp through a prism — suddenly it seems he’s holding every color in the musical rainbow right there in his hands.

Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”). The emphasis is on blues, but Carlos and his band are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.

Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco (loosely translated “of the reeds”) immigrated with his family at the age of one. He bent his first note on a harmonica when he was fourteen, making his debut with his high school math teacher at a student talent night. In his early 20’s del Junco was immersed in a visual arts career; he graduated with honours from a four year programme, majoring in sculpture (click here to see photos) at the Ontario College of Art. Sculpture has definitely had an influence on his outlook on music: “Music is just a different way of creating textures and shapes.”

Playing a ten hole diatonic harmonica, Carlos has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using a recently developed “overblow” technique taught to him by jazz virtuoso Howard Levy. Overall, this approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than the mechanized tone produced by the chromatic harmonica . Carlos is one of the few pioneers of this overblow method, bringing musical credibility to what has still been considered by many in the music industry – a fringe folk instrument. The sophisticated sound produced by del Junco is at once sensitive, soulful, and sexy while never forgetting the rawness inherent in blues music.



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David Rotundo

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 | 8:30PM

David Rotundo
Advance $40.00 / Door $45.00 *

Toronto blues harpist David Rotundo heard James Cotton perform at the El Mocambo in 1991. “He blew one note on the harmonica that hypnotized me…” The next day, Rotundo went out and bought a harmonica. “…and I’ve been playing the blues ever since.” Obsession with the blues led Rotundo on a diesel-fuelled roots tour of blues epicentres of the United States including – New Orleans, Clarksdale, Austin, Memphis and Chicago with little more than his wits and a bag full of harmonicas. “I wanted to hear and experience the real thing.” He returned to Canada with a visceral perception of the blues and a deep knowledge of blues history. After making the stories his own, he earned the right to tell them. Rotundo has developed his own language of the blues, honing the technique that gives the voice power and authenticity. Proof of his impact shows in the fact that he has been nominated for a Maple Blues Award for 11 consecutive years!

In 1997, Rotundo led a band called The Blue Canadians alongside such notables as Peter Schmidt, Shane Scott, Julian Fauth and Doc MacLean. In 2000, he was asked to join the legendary Jack de Keyzer Band and he was thrilled by the opportunity to play with “one of the best Canadian guitarists”. Aside from de Keyzer, Rotundo has performed with Lee Oskar, Ronnie Hawkins, ex- Muddy Waters drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Madagascar Slim, Mel Brown, Jeff Healey, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Finis Tasby, James Cotton, Magic Slim and The Tear Drops, Elvis Costello, Shakura S’Aida, members of Downchild among many others.

Rotundo’s 2001 debut solo album, “Blowin’ for Broke”, featured twelve original songs written by David and produced by bassist/engineer Shane Scott of Stone Pillar Productions. The album was nominated “Blues Album of 2001″ by the Canadian Independent Artist Association and Rotundo was winner of the Maple Blues Award “Best New Artist of The Year 2002″. In 2003, David returned to Stone Pillar Studios with his newly formed “David Rotundo Band”, resulting in the highly popular, critically acclaimed “Blues Ignited” album featuring international guitarist Enrico Crivellaro. In 2007 Rotundo won the Maple Blues Award for “Harmonica Player of the Year”, an award for which he has been nominated 10 times. After much fan demand, in late 2007, David recorded and released his live album – “Live at Roc ‘N Doc’s” which captured the true essence of the band’s high energy live performance. In 2008 it was considered in the top twenty blues albums released that year by various community radio stations with blues format shows. Rotundo is a songwriter who easily pulls inspiration from the world around him and that is well demonstrated by the twelve new original songs that grace his fourth album “No Looking Back”, which was released in March of 2009 to overwhelming response from fans both new and old, as well as industry, and again features Enrico Crivellaro on guitar. Bright prospects continue to lie on the path ahead, which goes to prove, that for The David Rotundo Band, there really is no looking back…When you see David Rotundo live you’ll know instantly that he lives for what he does!

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.