Carlos de Junco has won two gold medals from the Hohner World Harmonica Championships in Germany

Del Junco creating textures and shapes with harmonica

Harmonica playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz



Carlos del Junco is one of the best harmonica players on the planet, to say del Junco plays the harmonica is like saying “Jimi Hendrix plays guitar”.

He blows the blues harp through a prism — suddenly it seems he’s holding every color in the musical rainbow right there in his hands.  And you’ll get a chance to hear that musical genius, as the Harrison Festival Society presents Carlos del Junco & the Blues Mongrels on Saturday, Mar. 30 in the Harrison Memorial Hall.

Carlos is one of those players whose music is so advanced that when it comes to awards, it’s either retire the category or rephrase the question to “Best Harmonica Player Not Named Carlos”.

This includes two Gold Medals from the Hohner World Harmonica Championship in Trossingen, Germany, as well as multiple national awards in Canada.

Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”).

The emphasis is on blues, but Carlos and his band are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.

Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco (loosely translated “of the reeds”) immigrated with his family at the age of one.

He bent his first note on a harmonica when he was fourteen, making his debut with his high school math teacher at a student talent night.  In his early twenties del Junco was immersed in a visual arts career;  he graduated with honours from a four year program, majoring in sculpture at the Ontario College of Art.  Sculpture has definitely had an influence on his outlook on music: “Music is just a different way of creating textures and shapes.”

Playing a ten hole diatonic harmonica, Carlos has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using a recently developed “overblow” technique taught to him by jazz virtuoso Howard Levy.

Overall, this approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than the mechanized tone produced by the chromatic harmonica.

Carlos is one of the few pioneers of this overblow method, bringing musical credibility to what has still been considered by many in the music industry a fringe folk instrument.

He has recorded with Bruce Cockburn, Kim Mitchell, Oliver Schroer, Zappacosta, and has also worked with Dutch Mason, Hoc Walsh (Downchild Blues Band) and Holly Cole.  Carlos has toured Canada regularly since 1996 and tours often in Europe and the United States. He has played all the major jazz, blues, and folk festivals across Canada.

Del Junco and the band perform Saturday, Mar. 30 8 p.m. in the Harrison Memorial Hall.

Tickets are $22 and can be purchased by phone at 604-796-3664, online or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison, or Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Fuel truck hits train in Port Coquitlam, causing massive fire

CP Rail reporting no injuries, driver of truck is safe.

UPDATE: Pioneer Ave filming to include snow effects, stunt driving and fire arms

Pioneer Avenue to be backdrop for scenes set in 1950s

UPDATE: Rockslide keeps Coquihalla northbound lane closed

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

UPDATE: Brother of teen killed by stray bullet in Vancouver says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down while on his way home from dinner with his family

UPDATE: Wind warning ends for Metro Vancouver after thousands lose power

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Week in Review – January 19

Movie filming, water upgrades and more

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Semi rollover on Highway 3

Highway 3 is reduced to single-alternating lanes

Most Read