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More About Me & My Music

I started playing when I was 6 years old (1958). My grandmother gave me a "toy" harmonica for my birthday. Little did she know where it would lead. I grew up around music, the traditional Acadian and Celtic tunes. I learned to play mostly by copying a few excellent harmonica players. Those are very fond memories, sitting on a front porch on a warm Cape Breton summer evening, playing tunes.

Unlike what many seem to think today, not every home had a fiddle. Music was played on whatever instruments were available at the time. The harmonica played a much more vital role in the preservation of traditional music than many give it credit for today.

Harmonica is NOT just a blues instrument. Although the traditional harmonica players never shared the "politically correct" public image that the fiddlers did in Atlantic Canada, there have been any number of great harmonica players over the years and it is past time they got a little recognition for their contribution to the preservation of our culture and heritage. Outside this region it has been different with less emphasis on creating a "politically correct" tourism image and more on simply enjoying the music.


Hats off to: "Blind Joe" Aucoin
Hats off to: Tommy Basker

Gone but not forgotten...
Play on forever, boys!



I played my first public performance when I was 9 years old. I was scared witless but as soon as I heard that applause... well, I was hooked. Until 1974, I played semi-professionally or professionally a considerable portion of the time. In 1974, I got married and got a "real life". At that point music became a hobby. In 1996 I encountered a disability that meant my "real life" was over, and so I got a band together, started teaching lessons privately and here I am.

I play a wide range of harmonicas. The small 10 hole, single reed diatonics are great when usable, their sweet pure sound is hard to beat. But for a lot of tunes a wider range of scale is needed, so I have a number of full size tremolo style harmonicas as well.

A few of my favorites would be the Huang solo-tuned Musette, the Hohner Marine Band 365 - 14 hole, and the 270 Chromatic from Hohner. Although I must say however, I have been unhappy at times with quality in some of the Hohner harmonicas and very disappointed in their service and how they honor (do not honor) warranty. I would not go on record as ever having recommended them. When you get a good one, it is really good, when you get a bad one, you're on your own. They are the most common around here, but mostly because other brands are very hard to find.

I accompany myself with 12 string guitar much of the time and usually play the harmonicas in a holder. Occasionally I will put the guitar aside and play a baroque piece or O'Carolan piece accompanied by someone else. Playing the harmonica that way allows for a different kind of control over the instrument and it really is a whole different way of playing. I love to play that way but I don't get the chance to do it nearly as much as I would like to.

In addition to playing traditional tunes, I have written a number of original compositions, strongly influenced of course by the traditional, but more specifically influenced by the Acadian tunes which were so much a part of my childhood, and... much to my mother's delight, influenced by the baroque era classics, her favorite music.

Please feel free to browse around. There are some great links along the right side of the page, some are interesting music related sites, and others are links to tune collections in midi format. In my JukeBox (top right), you will find some of my favorites out of those collections, a few I got from friends, and one of my own set/compositions - midi arrangement courtesy of Barry Taylor. Thanks, Barry.

Thanks for stopping in...

~ Dave ~