Harmonica

As with many teenagers, I had dreams of becoming a musician. Back in Poland, the romantic songs of Marek Grechuta, the rock band Czerwone Gitary, and the haunting melodies of Czesław Niemen had a huge impact on me.  

My musical inspirations continued in Canada. In the beginning there, I could not speak English, but the music encouraged me to learn the language faster so I could understand the words. I vividly remember my first experience of The Beatles… but then I heard Bob Dylan! 

Strumming my guitar, like a troubadour, I played and sang for anybody who would listen. Eventually, the blues greats: BB King, Muddy Waters and Jethro Tull became my idols. 

When I headed to the Yukon, space in the canoe was precious and it could not hold my guitar. I was devastated. Yet later on, it was Kenneth’s gift of a harmonica that rekindled my musical passion. And as in The Spirit Journey, upon presenting it, he said that “spirits told him to give it to me”. How many times I sat by the evening fire, playing to the setting sun. I found the harmonica to be an easy instrument to master. Kenneth would sit on the river bank enjoying my music. He especially liked the tunes from Poland (his favourite was “Deszcz, jesienny deszcz, smutne pieśni gra”. It sounds great on the harmonica, and every evening he requested that I finish my repertoire with that melody.

My dog Pretor enjoyed the harmonica too… but in a different way. Whenever he went roaming in the forest, I simply needed to play a high note as loud as I could and he’d come back in no time. His ears were super sensitive!

In The Spirit Journey, I bestowed the honour of “harmonica player” on Kajtek. Koko however, is earmarked for another creative talent. Dear reader, you will have to wait until chapter three to find that out… (and no, it has nothing to do with food)!  

Old album of Kajtek-Majtek series from Wieczór Wybrzeża, my Yukon journal and 4 harmonicas. The harp in the black leather pouch is from  Kenneth. For me, the hunting cry of a blues harmonica is unlike any other instrument sound, but the best part is, that it can be always with me, hiding in my back pocket. 

Excerpt from my journal, 2020 Yandoit, Australia

 

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