World Class Harp…Mouth Harp that is – in Chestertown.


The rain may have put a damper on the Downrigging Weekend’s outdoor festivities near Brampton Inn, but it was smoking hot inside the Garfield Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday night…

The Sultana Project and the Garfield presented Frederic Yonnet, a world-class harmonicist, who has made it his mission to change the way the harmonica is perceived. Not only does he play the instrument in ways you’ve never heard, but in every style of music. He leads a small band (drums, bass and 2 keyboards) and plays original compositions as well as covers of Jazz, R&B and Standards.

Earlier in the day, he conducted a harmonica workshop for children as another part of the Downrigging’s festivities. One of those kids was in the audience that night, and Yonnet invited the young man up on stage to play with him. What happened next was nothing short of show-stopping and unbelievable. I was expecting maybe Old MacDonald, or Oh Susanna, but this young boy, a sort of Opie look-alike, takes out his harmonica and starts playing the most rollicking blues licks you can imagine. The crowd went wild.  The band chimed in. Yonnet and the young protégé played together. A standing ovation ensued…

Had I known it was going to be one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen, I would have brought my phone in and taken some video to share. But instead, I will just strongly encourage you to go to Frederic Yonnet’s website and be prepared to stay awhile; there’s plenty of video to give you an idea of what he’s all about.


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