Exclusive Interview with David Chalumeau

David Chalumeau How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ My grandmother plays the harmonica , my mother loved Bob Dylan and my uncles were passionate about jazz and blues . All this led me to be interested in the instrument.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included) , which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ That would certainly be a great master of the blues as Little Walter.

What is your favorite bluesharp brand / type and tell us why?
~ I played a lot on classic Hohner Marine Band and also on the Suzuki Manji (they offer a warm, brilliant and powerful sound and they are pretty well set out of the box.) but nowadays I use the Hohner Marine Band Deluxe model who offers me a great playing comfort, a unique sound and an optimum adjustment to play in all style of music"

What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ Keep the fun of playing, play with people, listen to the masters and find a way to work effectively

Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ I play both techniques but it will depend on how I want to ring my melody. Sometimes I want this to sound like a violin, a horn section or an accordion ... I will then use the technique that allows me to sound the way I want .

Give us the 3 most important albums every (beginning) bluesharp player must buy.
~ The question is not easy because there are so many good albums! But I will quote :
- Sonny Terry "Complete recordings 1938-1945"
- Little Walter "Boss Blues Harmonica"
- Bela Fleck & the Flecktones with Howard Levy, first album

How do you clean your harps?
~ I do not regularly clean my harmonicas . I only do it when my device does not work well. In that case I take a cotton swab with some alcohol to clean all the dirt.

What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ The question would be "what are the players I do not like ?". My answer would be to reword the question as follows: What I like about the other players ? Their sounds, their risk-taking , their melodic sense, inventiveness ...

Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ I like specialized studios in vintage sounds, with sound engineers who know the harmonica. It is also necessary that the studio is comfortable , just like home.

Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves?
~ That will depend on the preparation of the concert and if I know well my parts to play. The band's energy is crucial to how I can be relaxed too.

What was the most memorable day in your musical career?
~ There are many memorable days in my career of a musician. But the times when my grandmother was there were very touching.

David Chalumeau

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Answers given on JUne 11, 2016