Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Harmonica Pocket - Live at the Library!

I was checking out The Harmonica Pocket's website recently and saw that they would be coming to our local library with their new show Get Loose With Seuss.  Timberland Regional library is using this new show to kick-off their annual reading program and to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday.

I've heard of The Harmonica Pocket before, but I didn't have any experience with their music, and I really had no idea what to expect.  The group is fronted by Keeth Monta Apgar who plays "acoustic wah wah guitar" and is joined by a rotating selection of other musicians.  Nala Walla joined him this time; she provides vocal harmony and her famous hula hoop.

The group is described as "indie-pop" and "jazz-pop", but not "corn-pop", at least not yet.  Honestly these labels don't really mean anything to me.  I dislike putting labels on music because I  think that most people don't tend to think in terms of labels when they think about the kind of music that they like.  "Kids Music" is enough of a label for me because kids music can be just about anything.

The two marched out stomping and playing their hinkle-horns (that would be a kazoo attached to two tubes leading to a couple of brightly colored horns) and greeted the crowd enthusiastically.  However, there was no sound!  Wow, let me tell you that totally threw all the kids off!  They were so intrigued, baffled, confused . . . what in the world was up with these people!?  It was soon determined that it was necessary for the kids to turn on their ears before the show could start and after a quick lesson on how to turn on your ears, everything continued at a much louder pace.

They began by singing a birthday song to Dr. Suess and other songs were created using parts of Dr. Seuss stories.  The kids were really excited about it because all of them were familiar with Dr. Seuss books and their subsequent songs like One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  There was also a great little sketch about how Dr. Seuss came up with his ideas, including the idea for Horton Hatches an Egg.  The kids expressed shear delight when Nala broke out her hula hoop and she received quite a bit of applause for all her tricks.  Nala also danced with a pair of large orange and red scarves that was really beautiful and fun to watch.  At one point she pulled one of the scarves over several kids in the audience until she reached the end of the semi-circle of kids.  She then draped the scarf over herself and three very lucky little kids and they sat for a moment in their own private tent.  It was so child-like and carefree.

They closed the show with a song about Horton Hears a Who and a large balloon was bounced around the audience as we all pretended that it contained a tiny world of Whos.  Nala ended up catching the balloon and letting all the air out in Keeth's face, to which Keeth replied, "That balloon has bad breath!"  The audience all had a laugh and gave a large round of applause.

We bought The Harmonica Pocket's new album, Lady Bug One, to get a sense of what some of their other music is like.  I for one enjoyed the show so much that I'd really love to see some of their other shows.  I've listened to the CD several times now and I can tell you that it is like nothing else that you will hear in the kids music world.  Visit their website where you can download mp3s of some of their songs for free (or leave a contribution in the tip jar).  Also check out what they say about the Free Music Project.  It's a delightful breath of fresh air in the music industry.  I love the fact that some people in the kids music industry are embracing this idea.

The Harmonica Pocket has more shows coming up so be sure to go check them out!  They'll even be doing a taped radio show on Evergreen's radio station KAOS, Sunday, March 14, 3-5 pm PST.  So even if you can't get to one of their shows, you can still listen to them.


  1. How entertaining. DO they only go to librarys? Or book stores also. I know a little boy who might enjoy this.

  2. According to their website, "We perform in schools, libraries, festivals, theaters, farms, farmer's markets, all-ages rock clubs, and private parties." So, pretty much everywhere. I do know that they had a show at Third Place Books in Seattle so book stores should be on the list too.