Hello Didgeridoo, I'd Like to Introduce the Blues
What do you get when you mix Michigan with the Australian outback? You get Harper and Midwest Kind… and that equals some of the most distinctive music in the whole Blues world.
Harper is semi-Australian singer/songwriter Peter D. Harper. Though he was raised in Australia he was born in the United Kingdom, where his musical journey started playing trumpet and euphonium in brass bands.
It was when Harper was 10 that his family moved to one of the most isolated cities there is, Perth, Australia. Despite its isolation, Perth is known for a vibrant Blues and Folk scene. Soon after arriving in Australia, Harper’s father introduced him to the Blues harp. It was a fortunate thing as Harper very soon discovered a passion for the depth and power of the Blues and began an exploration back to the roots of the music.
Among the Blues artists that Harper found most influential were Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter, but he was also influenced by Sugar Blue and Stevie Wonder. Harper has said "I think Muddy Waters really hit me hard. There was something incredibly special about his sound, his powerful voice and his songs. I would sing his songs constantly. I also really dug Sonny Boy Williamson II as well. I loved his rhythmic use of his harp.”
A move to Melbourne took Harper to Australia’s number one music scene, sort of the Austin, Texas of that country. However, it was not in Australia that he discovered how that country could be an important factor in his music. That came about in Silverton, Colorado, when Harper met Hopi "Dan Running Bear."
Respect for his heritage sent Harper on a journey to discover the spirituality, traditions and art of Native Americans and then realize the links between them and Aboriginal Australians. As a result, he took up that most Australian of musical instruments, the didgeridoo.
After six very successful albums in his adopted Australian homeland Harper has gone international with a considerable following in Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Singapore, France and the United Kingdom. Now he is rapidly developing a following in his latest country of residence, the United States. With his Michigan based band Midwest Kind he is gaining respect for a sound that deftly mixes Rock, Blues, Soul, World Music and, of course, the didgeridoo overtones of Australia.
You can catch the music of Harper this week on The Nine O’clock Blues and on June 8th at the Island Grove Arena when he plays live at The Greeley Blues Jam.