Carlos del Junco, an award-winning harmonica player, touring in support of his new album Hold On, performs at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre on March 23. (Submitted photo)

Award-winning harmonica player transforms instrument on stage

Carlos del Junco plays Upstairs Lounge Friday March 23

Victoria has a chance to see award-winning harmonica player Carlos del Junco play Friday night as he comes through Oak Bay on the West Coast tour for his new album Hold On.

Hold On, which features a range of sounds from quirky instrumentals to beautiful ballads, has del Junco bending notes to make the harmonica sound like a saxophone, violin, trumpet and sometimes even bagpipes.

Spanning a career of more than 25 years, the unique sound del Junco draws from his harmonica has garnered multiple national and international awards including two Juno nominations and an International Songwriting Award. Not only does he bring years of award-winning work to the stage, del Junco continues to challenge himself to push new ground with his craft.

The fast tempo of “No Fool Horse”, a duet written by Kevin Breit that appears on the album, was the most challenging song by far on the record for del Junco.

“It’s so fast and you have to make it sound musical and intelligent,” said del Junco.

Five of the 10 songs on the album were written by Breit, a Canadian singer-songwriter who has worked with the likes of Norah Jones, k.d. Lang, Cassandra Wilson, and Serena Ryder. Breit played guitar on del Junco’s previous albums.

The other songs on the eclectic album range from covers of Jimi Hendrix’s classic “Little Wing”, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Ribbon of Darkness”, and “Shtetl Waltz”, the beautifully haunting musical melody by Canadian piano player Aaron Davis.

Harpin' on a riff from Rob Quartly on Vimeo.

“I’m not as much of a lyric person. I’ve always found inspiration mostly in a really wonderful melody or something rhythmic that captures my ear,” said del Junco. “It’s always after the fact that I might go ‘oh that was actually a really good lyric’. I’m much more drawn to the quality of the way it is sung – the tonality and the timbre of the voice maybe or the instrument. I hear music that way. It’s always the second or third pass before I realize there was a good lyric.”

Hold On – a mix of roots, blue, jazz and folk – is del Junco’s first mostly acoustic release and it features long-time bandmates Eric St. Laurent on acoustic guitar and Henry Heillig on upright bass. They’ve been working as a trio since 2013, all being accomplished musicians in their own right.

“There is a real synergy between us because we’ve played together for years,” said del Junco.

The band promises to bring a mix of old and new material on their tour which hits 13 stops in 19 days, island-hopping around Vancouver Island, Hornby, and Maine, as well as heading inland to Nelson, Penticton, and Calgary.

To get a sneak peek, sound bytes from his new album can heard at carlosdeljunco.com.

Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco immigrated to Canada with his family when he was one. Though he started playing harmonica when he was fourteen, del Junco spent his early 20’s immersed in a visual arts career after graduating with honours from the Ontario College of Art with a major in sculpture. Luckily for Canadian music lovers, he then turned to devote his time to playing the harmonica.

Carlos del Junco performs March 23 at 7:30 p.m. (doors at 6 for dinner) in Oak Bay Recreation’s Upstairs Lounge, 1975 Bee St. Tickets are $20 in advance at Ivy’s Bookshop and Oak Bay Recreation or online at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/carlos-del-junco-the-blues-mongrels-tickets-34256296505. Tickets are $25 at the door. Get a taste of the band at carlosdeljunco.com.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Carlos del Junco, an award-winning harmonica player, touring in support of his new album Hold On, performs at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre on March 23. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

Astrocolor bringing unique funk-synth sound to the Capital Ballroom

Victoria band known for their festival shows making a rare appearance on their home turf

VIDEO: Ballet Kelowna brings steamy story, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Island

Okanagan ballet company brings a classic tale to the Cowichan Valley

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read