jazz & blues music blog with news, reviews, concerts & more, with a Canadian focus

October 19, 2007

Blues Harmonica Worshop Runs This Weekend

Written by
cindy mcleod

blues news, concerts, Canada

Harmonica Players and Their Fans Gather for Harp ‘Blowout’

Harmonica fans have a rare opportunity ahead to listen and to learn from two of Canada’s top players at the 2007 Harmonica Workshop, kicking off tonight and running through Sunday, Oct. 21. Presented by Traditional Blues School and featuring Toronto’s Al Lerman and Vancouver’s Harpdog Brown, the two will appear in concert Friday and Saturday nights, and will host two full days of workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

Conceived and presented by local harmonica player Dylan MacDonald, the workshop/club idea was inspired by both necessity and desire. Originally from a small community in Nova Scotia, MacDonald, had no access to instruction on his instrument. Upon moving to Calgary that all changed when he met local blues titan Back Alley John, who became his teacher for the next four years until Back Alley’s untimely death in 2006 at 51 years of age. MacDonald began searching for new learning opportunities, leading him to attend a Master Harmonica Workshop in Chicago. The experience spawned the idea for a Canadian version of the event, and the launch of the Traditional Blues School, educators in the art of harmonica.

Bringing together two of the most recognized players in the industry, MacDonald has organized the first-ever weekend of it’s kind in Calgary, with Al Lerman and Harpdog Brown joining an all-star cast of local greats, guitarist/keyboard man Bill Dowey and the Du-Rite Aces, for concerts at tonight and tomorrow.

On Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm at the Best Western Village Park Inn, beginner through advanced harp students can join the two masters to learn techniques and styles of the blues harp, song forms and structures, the use of microphones and amps, and more. There are still a few spots available, interested students can sign up by contacting trad.bluesschool@hotmail.com, or by dropping by Kits Pub tonight and speaking with Dylan MacDonald in person.


Al Lerner

Multi-instrumentalist Al Lerman, leader of the Juno Award-winning blues group Fathead, is a journeyman musician who plays with sizzle and a whole lot of soul. He’s garnered several Maple Blues Award nominations for his harp and saxophone work, as well as his song-writing.


Harpdog Brown

Harpdog Brown is known to blues fans across the nation and throughout the Pacific Northwest as the leader of the Bloodhounds. The harmonica player, guitarist and singer has been performing for over 2 decades and has released four albums, his most recent being Live at the Vat.

Friday & Saturday, Oct. 20 & 21
Al Lerman and Harp Dog Brown
with Bill Dowey & the Du-Rite Aces
Kits on 16th, Calgary
720 – 16th Ave NW
$12 cover at the door
doors open at 8:00 pm

2007 Harmonica Workshop
Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 20 & 21
10 am to 5 pm
Best Western Village Park Inn
1804 Crowchild Trail NW

for more information visit www.tradtionalbluesschool.com

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