WOMEN WHO PLAY HARMONICA
(BUT NOT USUALLY THE BLUES)



 

JUMP TO:

Priscilla Ahn
Becky Allen
Marilyn Bennett
Crystal Bowersox
Michelle Branch
Brigitte Burgbacher
Chang Chu-Ting
Comment Allez-Vous?
Katie Couric
Cousin Emmy (Cynthia Mae Carver)
Cara Cooke
Sheryl Crow
Hermine Deurloo
Cynthia Dusel-Bacon
Nikki Gadout
Kathrin Gass
Mary Gauthier
Nina Gerber
Jane Gillman
Michal Adler-Gronich
Sarah Harmer
Harmonicuties
Terri Hendrix
Amanda Hower
Kaleena Hutchins
Christine Ellen "Chrissie" Hynde
Akemi Iwama 
Ella Jenkins
Barb Jungr
Anne Kirkbride
Isabella Krapf
Anna Kristina
Fawn Larson
C J Leedy
Lok Lay Leong
Jennifer Diane Lewis
Christen Lien
Julie Jarrell Lyons
Madonna
Karen Mantler
Lynn Mayberry
Mash McClain
Angelina McKeithen
Janalyn Autumn Kiklas
Risa Minami
Nami Miyata
Alanis Morissette
Alison Moyet
Mildred Mulcay
Heidi Newfield
Siobhan O'Brien
Mattie O'Neal
Val Redler
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll
Minami Risa
Tamara Rodriguez
Susan Rosenberg
Susan Sauter
Christine Sayers
Moria Serfling
Judy Smith
Naoko Takeuchi
Rebecca Tarwater
Mary Travers (Madame Bolduc)
Gillian Welch
Maria Wolfberger
Yuko Yanagawa
Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson-Zaharias

 

 

 

BACK TO THE TOP

BACK TO THE HOMEPAGE
PRISCILLA AHN    is a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter who plays acoustic guitar, harmonica and kazoo. Her music has been featured on The Tonight Show, Grey's Anatomy, Knight Rider, Men in Trees, The Late Late Show and the movie, Disturbiamore 
BECKY ALLEN   was honored recently for a lifetime in New Orleans theater. Having done everything from serious drama to musicals, comedy and cabaret, she encapsulated why she's stayed in the city. 'I'd rather work for New Orleans people than anyone else because they love me hard, hard, hard," she said.  more
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX is a high energy singer, guitarist and harmonica player. She took off on a tour of the world before she was 18. Crystal was the runner-up (who remembers the winner?) on the 9th American Idol. She has legions of fans.  more
MARILYN BENNETT   plays in "The Other Band," a popular south of England folk and pop group.
MICHELLE BRANCH   is a singer-songwriter, musician and actress who plays--besides the harmonica; guitar, keyboards, percussion, accordion, cello and mandolin. She has reached superstar status with million-selling recordings, movie roles and multiple awards.  more
BRIGITTE BURGBACHER   plays in the German harmonica quartet, Harmonicament. She is also a soloist with the Hohnerklang Orchestra. more
CHANG CHU-TING     Chang Chu-ting, 27, began learning the harmonica from her dentist father while she was still in middle school, and has since won many trophies from numerous competitions in Taiwan and abroad. In 2002, she won the Asian Harmonica Competition's open traditional tremolo harmonica division as well as the creative tremolo harmonica division.
MORE:  more

COMMENT ALLEZ-VOUS ?  is a Japanese harmonica trio featuring three women who play diatonic, chromatic, tremolo, bass and chord instruments. Founding members are; Nami Miyata, Reina Oba and Aya Kuada.
KATIE COURIC   is a well known television personality who hosted the CBS Evening News for five years until recently. Katie showed off her harmonica talent on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.   more
Cousin Emmy was a fascinating and enigmatic entertainer from the golden age of early country radio; flamboyant, colorful & sassy (billing herself as "the first hillbilly star to own a Cadillac"), yet "down home" & sincere. She wrote one of the great bluegrass classics of all-time, "Ruby (Are You Mad At Your Man)?" & influenced many performers, like Grandpa Jones. She danced & sang her way into the hearts of everyone who ever saw or heard her perform. In her heyday, she was one of the best-known & most popular country performers with a career that spanned from the mid-1930s into the 1970s, including an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, at the Smithsonian & as well at the Hollywood Bowl.
COUSIN EMMY (Cynthia Mae Carver) sang and played harmonica on recordings and radio in the late '30s. Born in 1903 in an area known as the Barrens near Lamb, Kentucky, Cynthia May was the youngest of eight children. Her father was a sharecropper who raised tobacco and Cynthia May began working in the fields as a child. From as far back as anyone remembers, she entertained her family in the fields by singing and creating musical skits. A self-described "natural show-off," she began teaching herself to play any musical instrument she could get her hands on, beginning on fiddle and banjo. Later, she taught herself guitar and harmonica.  more
CARA COOKE   is from Austin, Texas and describes herself as a "fiddle-type harmonica player". more
SHERYL CROW   came from a musical family and started music lessons when she was five years old. She wrote her first song at age thirteen  She moved to L.A. for better career opportunities and found them. She has achieved superstar status with million-selling hits, numerous awards and sold out performances.  more
HERMINE DEURLOO was born in Amsterdam, she was smitten by the jazz bug at an early age. She completed her studies at the Sweelinck Conservatory on alto saxophone. Then she received a chromatic harmonica as a gift. It was love at first bite. She is now much in demand as a soloist and session musician. Hermine has played with the Metropole Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and with many distinguished musicians including Al Jarreau and Toots Thielemans. She has toured the world giving concerts in Japan, America, China, Indonesia and Europe.  more
CYNTHIA DUSEL-BACON is a geologist who works for the government. She was attacked by a black bear while working in Alaska. She was rescued but lost both her arms in the mishap. She has persevered and learned to do many things with her feet. She continues her job for the government and plays harmonica for fun.  more
NIKKI GADOUT   is a well known French harmonicist.
KATHRIN GASS   plays and teaches in Germany.  She has won first prize at several harmonica competitions. Since 2002, she has been a lecturer at various workshops and the Hohner Conservatory.  She plays with the Hohnerklang Orchestra.
MORE: more
MARY GAUTHIER (go-shay)  is an outstanding songwriter and entertainer who lives in Nashville. She has won numerous awards for writing and performing.  more
NINA GERBER   A fixture on the West Coast folk and acoustic music scene, Gerber is rarely in the spotlight because she doesn't sing, but those who know say she is the pre-eminent accompanist for folk, acoustic, and Americana artists touring California. Gerber's guitar has backed up artists ranging from Jerry Jeff Walker to Ferron to Queen Ida to Barbara Higbie. She played guitar and harmonica with Kate Wolf for many years and played on Wolf's last studio album.  more

JANE GILLMAN   is a multi-talented performer who lives in Austin, Texas, where she currently plays in the Sarah Pierce Band and with Sam Baker. Jane plays a few other instruments besides harmonica, including; Guitar, Ukulele, Mountain Dulcimer, Mandolin and Banjo.  more
download: "Elsa's Tune"
MICHAL ADLER-GRONICH   a virtuoso harmonica soloist, she is the daughter of the founder of the famous Adler (harmonica) Trio. She grew up in a world of harmonicas. She plays the lead in the  trio, which is one of Israel's proudest exports. She has appeared as a featured artist on numerous television shows, and participates often in recordings for movies and theater. more
SARAH HARMER   lives in Canada and gets rave reviews on her performances and albums. She is a multi-instrumentalist and plays guitars and keyboards besides the harmonica. She is one of Canada's most popular singers.  more
TERRI HENDRIX   was born, raised, lives and works in Texas. She grew up in San Antonio and adapted San Marcos as home some years ago. A classically trained vocalist and deft multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin and harmonica), Hendrix is a firm believer in the theory that  “life’s too short for one genre,” dodging musical pigeonholes by weaving folk, pop, country, blues and swinging jazz into an eclectic style all her own. Add to that her charismatic stage presence and reputation for always delivering an energetic and spiritually uplifting live show and it’s no wonder why she’s been embraced by three generations of loyal fans around the world.  more video
AMANDA HOWER   played harmonica in the Robert Randolph Family Band for several years. 
KALEENA HUTCHINS  is from Melbourne, Arkansas, and performs regularly at John Taylor's Sons of the Ozarks Theatre and the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. She has played harmonica since the age of nine and has been honored to appear on The Shotgun Red Variety Show through the endorsement of Hohner Harmonicas. Kaleena is 20 years old and has won several awards which include: Arkansas State Fair Talent Winner, Midsouth Fair First Sweepstakes Winner, CBS Living Room Live Semifinalist, and America's Got Talent Standby Act for 2009.  more
CHRISTINE ELLEN "CHRISSIE" HYNDE   from Akron, Ohio, is an American rock star, best known as the leader of the rock/new wave band The Pretenders. She is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player, and is one of the most well known women in modern music. A style-setter in the early days of 1970s punk and new wave, Hynde has had a major impact on the music scene.  more
AKEMI  IWAMA           lives in Japan and was declared champion at the Asia Harmonica Competition.        She is famous for playing three harmonicas at once!   MORE:  HER FACEBOOK PAGE
ELLA JENKINS  is a folk singer, song writer and musical educator. Her musical legacy spans more than 40 years. Ella specializes in children's music.  more
BARB JUNGR  Singer and writer Barb Jungr was born and raised in the northwest of England. She worked with now legendary comedians and performers on the emerging Alternative Cabaret circuit in the UK (Julian Clary, Alexei Sayle, Arnold Brown) before beginning to create the themed shows which became her trademark and led her to the attention of Linn Records with whom she subsequently released 6 records before moving to the Naim label in 2010 for her latest release, "The Men I Love." Barb lives in London, writes, tours, and is involved in charity work. more
ANNE KIRKBRIDE   is an English actress who plays "Deirdre Barlow" in the ITV series, Coronation Street. She has played this role for about 40 years.  more
ISABELLA KRAPF   found a diatonic harmonica under the Christmas tree when she was eight years old and she started to play immediately. She says, "I only had troubles with the Blue Danube Waltz and so my parents bought me a chromatic harmonica for my 10th Birthday. I was so happy with that instrument that I never played on a diatonic harmonica again. Through the years I took lessons in Jazz piano, singing percussions and trumpet but for me it was quite clear that the harmonica was my instrument."  more
download
ANNA KRISTINA    is a California native and performed in her first festival at age 11. She starred in her first play at age 16. She recorded her first album at age 17 and recorded her first original song at age 18. more
FAWN LARSON   lives in Louisiana where she plays harmonica, fiddle, guitar and sings with several folk groups including Calico. She also holds harmonica workshops frequently and is on the staff of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  more
C J LEEDY   sings and plays harp with San Francisco blues/rock bands, Delicate Pie and Colonel Angus. more
video LOK LAY LEONG  is a young harmonica champion from Penang Island, Malaysia. She won the APHF Open Category competition as a solo artist in 1998. 
JENNIFER DIANE LEWIS   is an American singer-songwriter musician, and actress. She is the primary vocalist of the indie rock band Rilo Kiley and has released two solo albums. She currently performs as part of the duo Jenny & Johnny with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice more
CHRISTEN LIEN    is world famous as a viola and harmonica player who creates unique musical landscapes encompassing east and west. Her story of a trip to the Amazon, where she experienced some magical moments, playing the harmonica for the native Achuars, is riveting and inspiring.   more video
JULIE JARRELL LYONS   lived her whole life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She sang, told stories and played harmonica. Her songs and stories were about the endurance of mountain women and their struggle to maintain a family through hard times. In 1991, she was the subject of the Les Blank film, Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge.  more
KAREN MANTLER  is the daughter of two professional musicians, Karen grew up with music, sang on her mom Carla Bley's recording session when she was four. She is proficient on several instruments besides the harmonica.  more
LYNN MAYBERRY  was an old time radio comedienne, who could do a great train imitation, they say.
MASH McCLAIN is an accomplished singer/songwriter from Asbury Park, New Jersey. more
ANGELINA MCKEITHEN   is a well known country gospel singer and player. She is the third generation of performers in the McKeithen family. Her singing career started at the age of three. At age seven, she began playing drums. At nine, her father showed her several chords on an acoustic guitar, and she began performing with her family's band. At thirteen, she brought the harmonica to center stage, for which she is now nationally known. At the age of fourteen, she began singing and playing full-time with her family.  more
JANALYN AUTUMN MIKLAS   lives in Mercer, Pennsylvania, and plays the SUZUKI SCX-64 Chromatic Harmonica. She is the daughter of George Miklas (former member of Jerry Murad's Harmonicats) and grand daughter of Stephen Miklas who played the harmonica for General George S. Patton and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Janalyn began performing on the harmonica at age 5. At the age of 11, she performed her first harmonica solo with her father at the Mid-Ohio Valley Harmonica Championship. In 2010 she appeared with the HarpBeats and Harpettes in Akron, Ohio for the Buckeye Harmonica Festival. Later that year she played at the SPAH convention in Minneapolis.
At age 12, she continues to perform at local venues with her father. With chord harpist Val Redler she plays in The Harpettes. She is advanced on the chromatic harmonica, flute, oboe and piano, and dabbles with the ukulele and rack-mounted harp. She dreams of pursuing a career in music.   more

video MINAMI RISA    more
video
RISA MINAMI   is a harmonica virtuoso who lives in Owariasahi-shi, Aichi, Japan. She won the open championship at the Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival's bi-annual competition in 2010. She started piano lessons when she was three years old and has continued to study and play ever since. Now a complete professional, she has won numerous piano, oboe and chromatic harmonica competitions.
NAMI MIYATA   is a classical player, renowned in Japan and Europe. She plays in several groups including Comment Allez-vous. 
NAIMA MORA   is a very successful and popular model. She won America's Next Top Model. She has been featured on numerous magazine covers including Cover and Vicious. She is also the lead singer and harmonica player with the rock band, Chewing Picsmore


ALANIS MORISSETTE  is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actress. She has won 16 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards. Her worldwide debut album was Jagged Little Pill released in 1995, still the best-selling debut album by a female artist in the U.S. with more than thirty million albums sold. more
ALISON MOYET   is one of Britain's biggest pop stars. She has a big voice and a passionate singing style. She originally came to prominence as the voice of Yazoo(known as Yaz in the U.S.) but has been a solo artist since 1984. Alison has played roles in several musical and dramatic stage and television shows. It has been a joyful experience for Genevieve Alison Jane - an Essex girl born to a French father and English mother who left school at 16, became famous at 21, and released her triple-platinum solo debut at 23.  more
MILDRED MULCAY   was one of the first women to play harmonica professionally. She was a trained musician working in an all-girl band when she met Jimmy Mulcay, a Marine Band harmonica player. They hit it off right away and a few weeks later were married. The first time they played together on stage, Mildred played piano, but as she practiced and experimented with a chromatic harp, she eventually became better than her husband and took over the solos, while he switched to chords.The Mulcays were a popular act, touring around the world, entertaining troops and appearing in movies and on radio shows. Their recording of My Happiness became a million seller and a number one hit.  more


HEIDI NEWFIELD   is a bonafide country music star. She was lead singer, rhythm guitarist and harmonica player for the group Trick Pony, until she embarked on a solo career in 2006.
video <--CMT
more
SIOBHĂN O'BRIEN  is a singer and songwriter who performs with acoustic guitar and harmonica. No newcomer to the entertainment field, Siobhan made her first audio recording at the age of six, singing an old sea shanty. Siobhan has roots from four generations in the music industry.  more
MATTIE O'NEAL    played harmonica on the WSB Barn Dance back in the 1950s.
VAL REDLER   is President of the Garden State Harmonica Club and plays a bass chord harmonica in the duo, the Harpettes, with 12-year-old Analyn Miklas.
SHAKIRA ISABEL MEBARAK RIPOLL   is a Colombian singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer and philanthropist who emerged in the music scene of Latin America in the early 1990s. She has won two Grammy awards, seven Latin Grammies, and twelve Billboard Latin Music Awards. She is the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold over 60 million albums worldwide. 
more

TAMARA RODRIGUEZ
        
lives in Argentina.   
more
SUSAN ROSENBERG  An American harmonica virtuoso, Susan has appeared in recital and as a soloist with orchestra, chamber and jazz ensembles throughout the United States, Europe and South America. A precocious child, she taught herself the instrument and began public performances at age seven.  more
SUSAN SAUTER   started to play the harmonica at the age of eight and at the age of fifteen became Harmonica Town Master for the city of Trossingen, Germany, home of world renowned Hohner Harmonica Factory. From 2005 to 2008 Susan played in the harmonica group called The Harmonix which won first place and became World Champions at the World Harmonica Festival in 2005. At the World Harmonica Festival in 2009 in Trossingen, Susan won first prize to become the World Champion.  more
Christine SayersCHRISTINE SAYERS   is a truth seeking harmonica enthusiast. She is known for her outrageous perspective and blunt delivery. She is happy to give her opinion on nearly everything!  more


MOIRA SERFLING - Harmonica and Pop?...surely...new mode of songwriting from two perfectly different, yet, compatible styles of vocals accompanied by an ensemble of acoustic instrumentation and sounds, driven by an unrelenting innovative sound of loop station extra crispy, create the new birth in sound that is NERVLING. more
JUDY SMITH   plays with her husband Al in the Harmonica Hotshots, a long time Garden State group with high critical praise. "They combine spectacular harmonica artistry with novelty tunes and light humor to present high energy entertainment.
NAOKO TAKEUCHI   started studying harmonica at the age of eight. She quickly became proficient and won the championship in F.I.H. Japan Harmonica Contest tremolo class in 1988, and twice in the chromatic class in 1992 and 1994. To search for perfection, she furthered her study on chromatic harmonica with Yasuo Watani at Hohner Konservatorium, Trossingen, Germany in 1994. This helped her win 1st prize at the World Harmonica Festival in 1997. After graduation, she returned to Japan and performs actively as a soloist, and occasionally with orchestras and chamber music groups in Japan. more
REBECCA TARWATER    was a folk singer and player from Rockwood, Tennessee. In the mid '30s. John and Alan Lomax discovered her and urged her to go to Washington D.C. to record some songs, which she did.  more
MARY TRAVERS  was a French Canadian singer and musician known as Madame Bolduc or La Bolduc. During the peak of her popularity in the 1930s, she was known as the Queen of Canadian Folksinger.  Her style combined the traditional folk music of Ireland and Quebec. She played the violin, accordion, harmonica, spoons and jaw harp. She was most likely the first woman to record on the harmonica. more
GILLIAN WELCH   grew up in Los Angeles, where her parents wrote material for The Carol Burnett Show. As a child she became fascinated by bluegrass and early country music. She learned to play guitar at age seven. In the early '90s, she attended the Berklee School of Music where she began performing her own material, and traditional country and bluegrass songs, as part of a duo with her musical partner David Rawlings. Gillian has received numerous awards and several Grammy nominations.  more
MARIA WOLFBERGER  is a classical harmonica champion. She won the world harmonica championship in 1992 and 1993. 
YUKO YANAGAWA   began studying harmonica at the age of 9. She is one of the far east's most prominent classical harmonica players and has won numerous contests and awards since 1992 including: the overall Grand Prix award at the All Japan Harmonica Contest, and more awards at the Asia-Pacific Harmonica Festival's biannual competition.  more
MILDRED ELLA "BABE" DIDRIKSON-ZAHARIAS   was one of America's best known female athletes and she wore many hats in her short life. She did a brief stint in vaudeville playing the harmonica and running on a treadmill.She pitched in major league spring-training games;  toured with a billiards exhibition, played on men's and women's basketball teams, and an otherwise all-male, bearded baseball team called the House of David. Since golf was one of the few sports that accommodated women athletes, Didrikson made up her mind to become a championship player, and took lessons. She lost in the first round of her first tournament. She won her second, the Texas Women's Amateur Championship. She went on to win seventeen consecutive amateur tournaments before turning professional in 1947. Then she helped found the Ladies Professional Golf Association and was its leading money winner between 1949 and 1951. In 1950 the Associated Press voted her "Woman Athlete of the Half-Century." more
(If you know of other female harmonica players not listed here, please send information to the webmaster)
HOME