Exclusive Interview with Val Tomato

Val Tomato How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ I starded to like the bluesharp when I heard the music The Door "Roud house blues", I was 20 years old and this turned my life.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included) , which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ I would like to play with all of them but I invite some: Charlie Musselwhite,Rod Piazza, Sugar blue, Little Walter, Paul delay and other.

What is your favorite bluesharp brand / type and tell us why?
~ I like all blues harp styles but I have afinity with Chicago blues and blues with influence in jazz, ballad, delta blues, soul and to me it's difficult to say hahaha "I like all!!!"

What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ First of all one fine harp will help the study, another thing and very important is to have a "teacher". To me the harmonica is a "blind instrument", you don't see it, only fell, it is very sensible and perceptive instrument. With a teacher it will go will faster and prevents you from the wrong way of learning. Now it is study and listen to the harp Master. Play with your friends,family this helps you in your study and good luck!!

Whisky wine beer or ...?
~ Ohhh it's very dificult hahaha...I like all of them....but the beer it's always whit me hahaha, whiskey is good before the show and wine on to special occasion.

How do you clean your harps?
~ Well, I clean with alcohol and a swab or I send it to my luthier.

What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ I don't have any question.

Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ I was lucky to record in a little studio. They were more interested in technique and very objective about the music and this helped me very much in my cds. But when I recorded for other people I played in big studios but the music wasn't goods.

Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves.
~ Yes, I do.every show is different so to get nervous before the show is normal, I stay well concentrated alone, I warm up and drink a wiskhey.

What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ In these 25 years of my career, I had many memorable moments but, these three were more important. First when I launched my first solo CD I made a song in Tribute to Charlie Musselwhite and he thanked me by email and we became friends and talked about music, compositions and some stories. Second when I played whit Billy Branch. Third I played with Willi "Big Eyes" Smith the legendary music "Hoochie Coochie man" and he was the drummer of Muddy Walter, after that, we stayed drinking and talking about Mudd Waters and Pinetop Perkins with whom he was playing in those days.

For more info about Val Tomato you can go to:


Answers given on January 9, 2016