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

Summer at the Gardens: Alan Doyle show highlights busy schedule

Musical offerings range from classical and jazz to bluegrass and vintage rock

ROCK THE SHORES 2018: A variety of musical flavours throughout weekend in Colwood

Headliners Brian Wilson, Sheepdogs and X Ambassadors part of diverse lineup festival

Fiddle tunes complete farm bistro experience

Year-end recital at the Roost features Nellie Quinn’s fiddle students

Rebirth of downtown cultural festival coming to Victoria in July

Folktoria aims to pick up where Folkfest left off

Pass a pint: Great Canadian Beer Festival tickets on sale now

Over 200 brews and ciders will be featured at this year’s craft celebration

B.C. tourism grant helps Sooke Fine Arts Show

Grant will attract audiences from across B.C. and Washington

Sooke Arts Council hosts open house

Event takes place July 3 at 7 p.m.

Disney production filming at Victoria’s Government House today

Made-for-TV movie will feature the inside of the Rockland Avenue mansion

Duncan Has Talent performers prepping for summer show

Signups on now for crowd-pleasing series staged at Charles Hoey Park as part of The 39 Days of July.

PRIDE WEEK: Popularity has surged for Memorial Drag Ball game in the past 20 years

The venue has changed, but the theme of not taking one’s self too seriously remains

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Car Free YYJ, family fishing, Sooke bluegrass, walk for cancer and a mascot’s birthday

Most Read