Featured SlideMeister Member - May 2014
SlideMeister Members, P.M. aj fedor to submit your choice for featured member
Tobias Volkamer is a rare talent. Over the years, I've heard more than a few who play the Chromatic harmonica and guitar, simultaneously. (which is mind boggling to me) The only satisfaction I ever got out of it is that I was always able to say: "Great, articulation and stuff, but the tone of the Chromatic seems to take a back seat to every other aspect of the performance.
This universal shortcoming helped me feel better about my personal, non-existent, multi-tasking abilities. (which we won't even go into) because I could honestly say: "Yeah, the guy's good but the tonal quality is less than stellar." (as I am a card carrying tone freak :o) ) That's always been my personal justification for never even attempting to play my guitar and Chromatic at the same time; "If I can't give either instrument all the attention it deserved, why waste the effort?" :oP
Enter Mr. Tobias Volkamer. The very first time I heard him, just two bars into the performance, I immediately shut up and sat there awestruck and at total attention. This guy does it all and does it all very well!
Tobias Volkamer was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1963 and started playing harmonica at the age of five! (yes, FIVE) He started playing the guitar when he was 15 years old. As soon as he was able to play some chords, people began asking him to sing while playing, but he really didn't want to sing or learn lyrics . . . so he started playing Bluesharp.
Years later, a friend offered him a Chromatic harmonica as a gift. Hey! There were all those missing notes that weren't on his Bluesharp! He wasn't about to give up playing the guitar, and felt he'd like to try both. He soon designed a foot pedal to do the buttonwork on the Chromatic instead of using his guitar picking hand.
In the beginning, it was totally (and understandably) confusing not to tap the beat with his foot, but to push the pedal depending on the melody. He had to practice a lot, and finally it began to click, as did the music. Soon, he moved to the more difficult tunes with faster and more complex chords and melodies.
Today, Mr. Volkamer will tell you his music had become a real friend to him. He says it demands a lot of practicing, but also gives a lot in return (and I will add that the proof is in the performance!)
Click here for Tobias Volkamer's YouTube channel
As usual, you''ll find two You-Tubes below, but I just grabbed two at random because I couldn't decide on which I liked best. I suggest you just go to his YouTube channel mentioned above, hit "play all" and plan to spend some time there being challenged, discouraged, encouraged amazed and of course, totally blown away!
- the ole' SlideMeister