Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Marko Jovanovic interview

January 27, 2023 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 78
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Marko Jovanovic interview
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Show Notes Chapter Markers

Marko Jovanovic joins me on episode 78.

Marko is a German player with Serbian roots, from where he developed an interest in playing Balkan music on the harmonica, returning to the region to team up with several acts to release some great music in that genre. He’s also an expert blues player, has played chamber music, Arabic music and much more on both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas.

Marko also runs the successful Berlin Harmonica School, where as well as one-to-one group classes he has some great online video tutorials from players around the world. Offering lessons in a range of different styles, including Irish, Argentinian, and soon to come: more chromatic, flamenco and advanced diatonic harmonica. And he also runs the FEN harmonica festival now too.

Marko’s website:

Berlin Harmonica School:

FEN Festival:


Marko’s YouTube channel:

Marko playing On The Road Again with Bluesrudy:

Playing with Lars Vegas & The Love Gloves:

Playing with George Sareski:

Playing at Harmonica Masters 2015 Trossingen:

Podcast website:

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Spotify Playlist:
Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:

Podcast sponsors:
This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS
and Blows Me Away Productions: http://www.blowsmeaway.com/

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Marko was born in Munich but now lives in Berlin
Has Serbian (former Yugoslavia) roots
Runs a harmonica workshop in Croatia every year after previously teaching in Tuscany, Italy
Marko started out on harmonica age 13 after hearing lots of harmonica through father
Uncle showed Marko how to play
Harmonica was first instrument, after failed attempt to build a guitar
Also plays some bass and piano
Started out on diatonic harmonica playing blues, picking up the chromatic a little later
Can play some things on chromatic that can’t play on diatonic, and vice-versa
First started learning chromatic to tackle a jazz song in Ab for a recording session
Alan Wilson from Canned Heat was one of first harmonica players to inspire Marko
Howard Levy was another inspiration
Also drew inspiration from other musicians beyond harmonica players
Marko has recorded lots of different genres
How other instruments have influenced Marko’s harmonica playing, including African music
Prefers the smaller ensemble of duos / trios, to give the harmonica more space
Playing more and more acoustically these days
First recorded album was with Lars Vegas and the Love Gloves blues band, who Marko met at a festival in Germany
Joined as a bass player initially with the Love Gloves, but then shared that role so could play more harmonica
How Marko learned the upright bass in 10 days
How bass guitar has informed harmonica playing
How Marko incorporates techniques from bass into his harmonica teaching
Played chamber music with the Ensemble Piaccordia after spending some time learning accordion
Plays mostly diatonic with the Ensemble Piaccordia
Blues duo with Peter Crow, first blues guitar partner Marko played with
Some of the more modern harmonica players who influenced Marko
Marko learnt to appreciate early blues through Peter Crow
Did harmonica and guitar workshops with Peter Crow
Little Sam Lud is another duo Marko has performed with
Played in the Sahara with Little Sam Lud
Versatility of the harmonica
Duo with Branko Gallic
Approach to playing Balkan music and ornamentation
Played Arabic music with Trio Fanolic - Culap - Jovanovic
Latest album is ‘Big Love’ with guitarist Georgi Sareski
Marko has a collection of archive recordings on his website
Founded the Berlin Harmonica School
Releasing online video tutorials with different players, including Joel Andersson (Irish harmonica) and Santiago Alvarez (Argentine tango)
Berlin Harmonica School started off as group harmonica workshop before moving more online due to Covid pandemic
Hold face-to-face workshops in Croatia and Berlin
Quality tutorial videos versus YouTube (which also has lots of great content)
Marko provides one-on-one lessons to advanced and professional level players
Now runs the FEN harmonica festival every two years
Marko has been a judge and performer on numerous occasions at the World Harmonica Festival in Trossingen
Thoughts on harmonica competitions
FEN stands for Fascination Education Network and the principles of the festival
Harmonica is a young instrument, still in its development
10 minute question
Marko plays Hohner diatonics
Uses some of Joel Andersson’s custom harmonicas and thoughts on custom harmonicas
Good to practise on lower quality harmonicas as it improves your playing on better quality ones
Some of Joel Andersson’s harmonicas are available through the Berlin Harmonica School website
Plays Suzuki Sirius chromatics
Overblows: uses them but like to think of them as just another note
If you want to learn the diatonic fully then you need to learn 4 techniques of: bending, blow bending, overblowing and overdrawing
Embouchre: uses the technique most appropriate to the music
Uses Schertler amp, which is sold via Berlin Music School website
Mics: uses Shure SM58 and Sennheiser MD441
Uses Electrovoice mic when playing through a tube amp, given to Marko from Bill Barrett
Tube amps of choice: has played a Fender Champ and Princeton and Marble amp
Playing technique much more important than gear
Four new online courses coming out through Berlin Harmonica School: Bill Barrett, William Galison, an advanced diatonic course from Marko, and a flamenco course from Antonio Serrano