This summer, I had the opportunity to sit down with Tango harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers for some relaxed conversation and a lesson. In this video, Joe offers a cool lesson in hand tremolo and “how to hold the harmonica.”

I have so much respect for musicians that know how to stay focused. When Joe Powers found his joy in the tango music of Buenos Aires, he got busy mastering that passionate art form on the harmonica. When I hear Joe play that harmonica. I can picture the hours and hours of focused practice–mastering every scale in every key, flying through octaves and arpeggios and putting his sweat and tears into the finishing touches of another Tango. As I write this entry, Joe Powers has just returned to Portland after a tour of Japan with his collection of Suzuki Sirius 64 chromatic harmonicas.

Joe Power’s Latest Album “Just Duet!”

It’s funny, as a mostly self-taught harmonica player, no one ever showed me how to hold the harmonica. Over the years, I’ve developed my own technique that works quite well for me, but having a teacher opens up possibilities that I might not have ever imagined. They say, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Well, I’m ready and fortunately, the teachers are all around me. (Looking forward to the SPAH convention 2013 in St. Louis)

After all these years of playing, there’s still so much for me to practice. And often it’s the most basic questions that I need to be asking myself — How relaxed are my hands, my shoulders and my jaw? How much beauty can I create in the tone of a single note? How well do I know the blow/draw pattern of a basic scale? Joe Powers is wonderful player and a really nice guy… If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, be sure to check him out. 🙂

Here’s some more of Joe in action, check it out…


Got something to say? Post a comment below.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments