One of the few professional folk harmonica players in the UK will be appearing for a one-off concert on the Isle of Man next week.
Will Pound, described as a ’master of the mouth harp’, is to appear at King William’s College on Monday, February 6.
He is one of the foremost harmonica players in the UK, and is one of the few to successfully adapt the instrument to the rigours of playing folk music.
His main source of inspiration is roots music, and he includes tunes from all over Europe in his repertoire.
’Primarily I play the harmonica, but I also play the squeezebox too,’ said Will.
’ I mainly play folk and roots music, but that can include music from all over.
’I play Irish tunes, some Swedish folk tunes and a bit of French too.
’I’m also learning a lot of Manx stuff too,’ he said. ’I’ve been teaching myself with the files that have been put online by Culture Vannin.’
The harmonica isn’t one that is usually associated with folk music, and is more normally associated with American and blues music, although the evocative sound does have a place in the typical sound of the sea shanty.
However, Will has created a unique and extraordinarily dextrous approach to playing the instrument.
’Its a great sound and it lends itself really well to folk,’ he said. ’A lot of people see it as something that is just for the blues, or they think "oh, its Bob Dylan", but it works well.
’It’s like any instrument though. If it’s played well, then it sounds great.’
’I’ve never been to the island before,’ he added.
’Hopefully there will be a good crowd down there and we’ll have a good night, and it should be interesting. I’m really looking forward to it.’
His fast and breathless style has led to him to playing alongside some legendary names in the music world, including Paul McCartney on his version of ’He Ain’t Heavy’, which was released as a fundraiser for the Hillsborough Charity.
Will also released a solo album in 2013, which featured folk royalty Martin Simpson and Kris Drever, and last year released an album, ’Ignite’, with accordionist Eddie Jay.
Tickets are £10 each, available from King William’s College.