Artist Of The Month September 2020: Kelvin Anton Carlsson

Kelvin Carlsson - photo by Joe Mills

‘’I Play Harmonica And Sax In Bands, And Teach Harmonica To Inmates In Prisons, Disabled People, And Run Regular Beginners Workshops All Around Australia.’’

When it come to Harmonicas, no one can really do it better than Kelvin Carlsson. Based in Narrabeen, Kelvin, better known as 'Mr Harmony', spreads his love of the this wonderful instrument with many across Australia. A Bilgola Plateau Public School then Barrenjoey High School student, Kelvins' love of the Pittwater landscapes led to studies at the Ryde School of Horticulture and working in the great outdoors.

It's his love of music that has been his constant passion though and this he has shared with others - in 2019:

Never thought playing harmonica would take me where it has. Gigged last night in a tiny intimate bar in Avalon, tomorrow a prison farm on the Murray River in SA. On Wednesday teaching disabled teenagers on the Central Coast. Then on Thursday a prison in Shepparton, VIC. Careful what you wish for people, it might happen for you!

What's involved in teaching harmonica?:

Mr Harmony’s Blues Harmonica for Beginners Course is an introduction to blues harmonica for either complete beginners, or those with very limited experience of playing. You discover simple licks and tunes as examples of the style from early acoustic Delta blues through to the amplified harmonica of Chicago in the late 1940s and 1950s. This is a hands on (and lips!) course. In this course students are taught a brief history of the harmonica, from its beginnings as a German folk instrument in the 1860’s, through to it becoming synonymous with African-American blues music around the early part of the 20th Century. 

Aside from a brief history of the instrument itself, and a demonstration of playing, you learn about holding the harmonica (cupping), about single notes and playing chords, how to chug out a “train” or why blues harmonica is played in “2nd Position”. There's also tongue articulation – the “dit dits” and the “dah dahs”. Students learn how to play chords along to a 12 bar blues backing track, about the “Bending” notes – technique, the “wah wah” and “fanning the harp” techniques. You can even learn the expressive sounds on the harmonica, baby crying, train etc. and the vibrato – hand and throat techniques.

Kelvin recommends his students start with a Harmonica in the key of D Major and either a Hohner Special 20 harmonica, or a Hohner Silver Star harmonica.  

Along with his love of the harmonica Kelvin loves taking a photo or two, with requests for copies of his works. Readers may recall his input into the February 2020 Storm Event report run in this news service.

Irrawong waterfall at Warriewood on Sunday February 9 2020 - photo by Kelvin Anton Carlsson 

Residents may have heard Kelvin playing as part of the CJ and the Mellows lineup alongside Chris Raggatt, and remember they travelled to the US a few years back to be part of the 2017 International Blues Challenge. Chris explained how this happened;

Kelvin is a friend of Milton’s. Milton Brown said he knew this harmonica player who wanted to come down and have a jam and sit in on a gig – I said ‘sure!, let’s do it’ . He came down and sat in on a gig at Avalon Bowlo and was just great, just really really right. Kelvin has played the harmonica for years and is really dedicated, really into it. He has his gear sorted out, a great amplifier to play his harmonica through and has a great style, always dresses for the part – and he goes off on his harmonica.

He transports himself and his music with his harmonica in a great way. He is just a spark of energy.

We really had a connection, had a similar approach I suppose in that we’re both going for that feeling of energetic release when we play – we’re going for it. When this happens it moves above just being great music, there’s some kind of spiritual release that happens too.

Kelvin and Chris playing a nice Sunday afternoon session at Modus Operandi, Mona Vale

These and a sample of his music features as the Pittwater Online News September 2020 Artist of the Month. 

When we asked Kelvin how many of his wonderful photos he wanted us to run he replied 'all of them!'. Loading that many would take a month though - so a smidgen of his talent runs this month and you can find out more about the gentleman himself in his Profile of the Week page - which launches us into Spring 2020 via that fine old phrase - if music be the food of lovethen play on - and please, Mr. Carlsson, keep getting those wonderful images and sharing them on; 

Kelvin Carlsson - photo by Joe Mills

Norwegian churches #7.

Norwegian churches #6.

Norwegian churches #5. Lillehammer.

Norwegian churches #4. Evenskjer.

Norwegian churches #3. Flam.

Norwegian churches #2. Some are just in extraordinarily beautiful locations.

Churches in Norway #1. 

What is remarkable about this 13th C stave church is that despite being constructed entirely from timber, it has lasted this long. Particularly as candles were used as the only light source inside. To protect them from the elements, these churches were caulked in a black, tar like substance created from charcoal.

Tourist in my own town. Chowder Bay, August 9, 2020 

View from George’s Heights with quintessentially classic Manly Ferry, August 9, 2020

Apple glut in Shepparton - acres and acres of trees laden with rotting fruit. Sad to see so much waste. August 2016

Reflected trees - August 2016 

Murchison - August 2016 

Forest giant, Styx Forest, where you can see majestic 400 yr old trees that they didn’t manage to cut down. July 2019

Bush walking at Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains this morning, August 23, 2020. 

Black cockatoo crunching up Casuarina nuts.

Public telephones Havana, 2017.

Cradle Mountain Tasmania, August 2014. A dark foreboding mountain, standing guard over Dove Lake, it's barren bleak tops occasionally wreathed in low cloud, a scattering of snow here and there. A cold wind cuts across the beautiful alpine landscape. Stunning!

View from Notre Dame, Winter 2018.

Frozen canal in the village centre, Edam, Netherlands 2016.

One of the joys of being a grandpa is rediscovering how much fun the zoo is! Pelicans and Fairy Penguins - June, 2020

Australian Seal sunning himself on a rock at Turimetta beach, August 17, 2013

Dusky Moorhen, Warriewood Wetlands, July 2020