This video, by Tijn Berends, a member of the Netherlands-based folk duo Itchy Fingers, was recorded in May 2013, obviously at home. Berends has a nice touch on the harmonica; the lines are played swiftly and cleanly, with ornamentation suited to the style. (Love those little triplet touches.) His light breathing helps plenty; it’s tough to play loud and fast at the same time, and he doesn’t make the mistake of trying. These pieces fly by, with plenty of feeling when it counts on the big notes.
Irish music is going international, the way the Blues did in the second half of the 20th century. I used to marvel when I heard some great playing in this style from a band based in Oslo or Barcelona. I don’t anymore. And I say: it’s all right! Some of the coolest harmonica playing is coming from the most unexpected places on the planet, maybe because the kids in those places don’t know that you’re not supposed to play harmonica on whatever styles they like the most. No tradition? No problem. They’ll borrow one or make it up.
More great music with harmonicas in more places in the 21st century? I’ll drink a Guinness to that.