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David's Tip of the Day: Between The Ears: School For Harmonicas

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Just announced today... I'm very much looking forward to this...

Saturday 7 March

Imagine a town of harmonica players; sounds a bit surreal?
Now Between The Ears gives listeners the chance to hear the harmonica as a truly virtuoso instrument, although never less than an instrument of the people - portable, affordable and playable. As acclaimed poet Kim Addonizio turns student, heading back to blues school - with pen, mouth and a stack of harmonicas at the ready - in search of the sweetest sounds made by the modern day ‘harp’.

She travels to Trossingen in Germany - dubbed the world capital of harmonicas – where every alley and street echoes to the sound of the harp, and even the downtown hotel’s part of the old Hohner Factory.

This is where you will find the true aficionados, the hard-core addicts, who come back year after year for the camaraderie, to share ideas and new developments, and to have lessons with the top players.

Kim learns riffs from some of the world’s master performers and top ‘harp’ teachers, including Dave Barrett and Steve Baker. She’s also written a poem about Joe Filisko, one of the world’s foremost interpreters of early country blues styles, who customises harps for clients such as Neil Young, blues great Kim Wilson and jazz phenomenon Howard Levy, and who she wants to persuade to accompany her on his magical harp. She also dreams of being the first woman to jam on stage at the Blues conference - so will her dreams become reality?

Acclaimed writer Kim Addonizio has been called one of the USA’s ‘most provocative and edgy poets’ and her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, a John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award, to name a few. She has published four books of fiction and five poetry collections, her most recent a group of poems about the blues and harmonica.

Presenter/Kim Addonizio, Producer/Sara Jane Hall for the BBC