harmonica

Arts & More
4:07 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Harmonicist Peter "Madcat" Ruth on loving his instrument, Dave Brubeck, and winning a Grammy

Peter "Madcat" Ruth, left, with guitarist Dave Boutette. Ruth will perform with Boutette on May 17th in Kalamazoo.
Credit Courtesy of the Artist

Harmonicist Peter "Madcat" Ruth has spent five decades blowing all the right notes. His career has  taken him around the world and into blues, rock, jazz - and even classical music. 

The Ann Arbor-based musician is performing at Mangia Mangia in Kalamazoo on Saturday, and talked with us about his work with legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, his surprise Grammy win, and how the harmonica has continued to remain distinct from its electronic counterparts in the 21st century:

"The harmonica has just a sound that's unlike any other instrument. When they came out with synthesizers they could never get a synthesizer to sound like a harmonica cause so much of the sound of the harmonica is the harmonica player's lungs and throat and hands. In some ways I don't think it's as popular as it was a few decades ago, but still people like to hear it."

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Music
4:51 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Willie Nelson's harmonica player adds to his signature sound

Mickey Raphael (right) with Willie Nelson (left)
Credit stillisstillmoving.com

Willie Nelson and Family are in concert May 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the State Theater in Kalamazoo. Even if the name Mickey Raphael isn’t familiar to you, you have most likely heard his music. Raphael is the harmonica player in country music legend Willie Nelson’s band.

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