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Welcome to ‘Harmonica Riff’

Harmonica RiffThis site explores the possibilities and pleasures of jamming on the diatonic harmonica. I have been playing the diatonic harmonica since I was 14 years of age. My father first taught me the basics, by showing me how to get the basic notes of do re mi fa so la ti do in order to play South African folk songs like SARIE MARAIS. I discovered that once the basic technique was mastered of producing whole notes or chords under control you had at your disposal a compact and extremely portable instrument which you could use with the same dexterity as the human voice.

Once I had discovered how to play harmonies in first or second position I was on a roll. I soon was playing in bands and ultimately formed my own band ‘Blue And Beyond‘. Even though I play guitar the harmonica is definitely my first instrument. What ‘Harmonica Riff’ aims to do is reel in the wealth of material out on the internet and organise it into logical steps, so that anyone can enjoy jamming for pleasure to their favourite bands while improving their playing. There is a wealth of material already out there on explicit technique, but since the harmonica sounds different from player to player, I believe it is more important to show and develop your own style rather than desparately trying to carbon copy the great players.

John Tribe

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  • Big Road Blues Show 7/13/14: Mix Show
    Show Notes: Today's mix show has several themes and featured artists running throughout. On deck today we play songs revolving around the term "11-29" and spin a trio of songs based on Sippie Wallace's "Up The Country Blues." We also feature twin spins form Julia Moody, Big Joe Williams and Blind Willie McTell. We hear […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 7/6/14: Way Down In the Delta, That's Where I Long To Be – Mississippi Blues Pt. III
    Show Notes: Today's show is the third in a series of shows devoted to great early Mississippi blues artists, most little remembered today. Mississippi produced some of the most powerful blues singers and guitarists of the 1920's and 1930's although one could say that the intense interest in Mississippi has taken the spotlight away from […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 6/29/14: Jackson Stomp – Blues From Jackson Mississippi
    Show Notes: As writer Scott Barretta wrote in an article on Jackson blues: "Intersected by I-55 about halfway between Memphis and New Orleans, Jackson, the state capital of Mississippi, arguably has as grand a blues heritage as those cities and the Delta to its northwest." Jackson, Mississippi in the 1920’s was a city with a […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 6/15/14: Mix Show
    Show Notes: While the heart of this program is our weekly theme shows, where I get to dig deep into a particular theme or topic, the monthly mix show give me a bit of a breather and the opportunity to tackle things that don't fit in to our theme shows. The mix shows also usually […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 6/8/14: Diving Mama – Spivey Records Pt. II
    Show Notes: Victoria Spivey Spivey Records was a blues record label, founded by blues singer Victoria Spivey and her partner and jazz historian Len Kunstadt in 1961. The label was originally called Queen Vee Records, changing the name to Spivey records the following year. I believe only a couple of 45's were issued under the […]