Lee Oskar Harmonicas Presents “Let’s Hear it for the Girls”

—a Featured Video Showcase of Female Harmonica Players
Laura Reed by Jess Williams
bandbizz1

Harmonica virtuoso and manufacturer Lee Oskar is pleased to present a video showcase of featured female harmonica players on his website, www.leeoskar.com. Known as
“Let’s Hear it for the Girls,” this special video series showcases the distinctive talents of such female artists as Sofie Reed, Kellie Rucker, Laura Reed and Ms. Harmonica, who represent a wide range of musical genres and styles in their artistry.

Each short video portrays the individuality and uniqueness of the featured artist and gives viewers a special opportunity to discover the essence of each female harmonica player. In the words of Lee Oskar, “We are so excited to share these videos and give people a deeper understanding and appreciation of these remarkable women as harmonica players. While many people still associate harmonica playing with men, these gals are fantastic examples of what a women can do with a harp!”

 

Sofie Reed

Sofie Reed-Retouched

photo of Sofie Reed by Jacky Beaugeois

Sofie Reed is a self-taught, independent, international touring grassroots artist whose unique, soulful style is loved and appreciated all over the world. Through a rich creative journey spanning three decades, Sofie has evolved as a vocalist, composer and one-of-a-kind musical visionary.

Her musical style encompasses roots-blues, folk-blues and even roots-appalachian-with-a-dalecarlian-twist. However it’s termed, Sofie thrills audiences all over the world with her extraordinary artistry.

Sofie left Ludvika, Sweden as an eighteen year-old young adult in1987. She settled in the ghettos of Minneapolis on her own. For several years, she freelanced as a stylist within the local music scene, until one of her clients, Sheila Charles, daughter of Ray Charles, hired her as a back-up singer. That pivotal encounter led to Sofie performing session work throughout the Twin Cities, followed by performances with her former husband, fingerstyle guitarist Preston Reed. Eventually, she left Minneapolis and moved to Colorado.

Chris Kresge of the Rocky Mountain Music Network comments, “Over the past decade, living in the foothills west of Denver, Sofie’s many experiences as a lone Swedish immigrant in a foreign culture have allowed her to create an intriguing and colorful story, reflected in her unique approach to her music and performance.”

Sofie’s has recorded three CD’s, including: Red Hen (2014); Simplicity Chased Trouble Away (2012) and Baby Boo Got Gone (2004).

She proudly plays Lee Oskar Harmonicas, McSpadden Mountain Dulcimers, Lap Steel Guitar, Ukulele. and she stomps her foot on an old wooden wine box!

In the words of Lee Oskar, “Sofie Reed is a multi-talented artist who gives so much of herself as a performer. With varied talents as an incredible, soulful singer and instrumentalist, Sofie also plays the harmonica. She is a phenomenal one-woman band! Her sense of rhythm, phrasing and overall artistry make her one of the most interesting artists on the international music scene today. I’m thrilled that she plays Lee Oskar Harmonicas as she sure knows how to bring my favorite instrument to life with finesse, flair and great feeling.”

www.sofiereed.com  follow on facebook Sofie-Reed

 

Kellie Rucker

kellie-rucker-

She stands a mere five feet tall, but don’t let her tiny stature fool you, Kellie Rucker is a very BIG talent.

Over the course of a professional career that has spanned more than 35 years, she has appeared on the bill or onstage with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Stephen Stills, Albert Collins, James Cotton, ZZ Top, Dan Hicks, Warren Zevon, Little Feat and B.B. King.

Kellie has become a recording artist in her own right, with 3 CD releases, “Ain’t Hit Bottom“, “Church of Texas“, and the latest release, “Kellie Rucker, Music of Soul Return“. All three were recorded in Los Angeles, and feature the finest in L.A. talent.

Her command of the blues harp and her powerful singing voice have made her a key ingredient on recordings and live shows with legendary blues guitarist B.B. Chung King and Grammy nominee, Jon Butcher. Her work can also be found on discs by such diverse artists as L.A. Guns, Corey Stevens, B.B. Chung King and the Buddaheads, TV Commercials and on the German TV Crime Dramas, Tatort and Zoko Liepzig.

Born in Oklahoma City, Rucker and her family moved often, making stops in Texas, Virginia and the Florida Keys before settling in Mystic, CT. She took up the harmonica at the age of twelve, and as a teenager had the habit of sneaking into blues clubs to see influential performances by Johnny Winter, James Cotton, James Montgomery, and Roomful of Blues. At 17, she headed west to Denver, where she formed her first blues band, Blues for Breakfast.

She loved the Rocky Mountains, but longed for the warmth of the Southeast and returned to the Florida Keys. There she happened to join forces with the Bill Blue Band, with whom she eventually toured in Scandinavia.

In 1985, Rucker came to Southern California and settled briefly in the San Diego scene before migrating north to Los Angeles, where she Albert Collins’ guitarist Debbie Davies. She and Davies formed a band that toured extensively along the ‘left coast’ for over two years.

As her harmonica playing evolved, Rucker began to feel limited by her role in a traditional blues band and she sought to expand her musical horizons. She caught the attention of noted electric blues guitarist, B.B. Chung King, and after sitting in a few times was invited to join his band, The Screaming Buddaheads. She recorded and toured with BBCK for over five years, becoming a sought after ‘gun-for-hire’ harmonica player and singer on Los Angeles recording sessions.

These days, Kellie is based in Gainesville, Florida and continues to perform in concerts all over Europe performing her own material from her CDs and will begin new recording projects while in Europe in between tour dates. Kellie has new projects underway, so please stay tuned!

reverbnation.com/kellierucker  Follow on facebook Kellie Rucker

 

Laura Reed

Laura Reed by Jess Williams

Laura Reed by Jess Williams

Laura is a multi-talented singer-songwriter and Lee Oskar Harmonica player, who lights up the stage with her versatile and vivacious musicality. Welcome to the LOH circle of friends, Laura. You’re one of a kind!

South African born singer/songwriter Laura Reed (holding fast to her North Carolina music roots, as well) has become a global success story with her seductive, signature vocal style, her thought-provoking lyricism, and powerhouse live presence; But the insightful artist feels like she’s truly arrived with the release of her acclaimed, aptly titled solo debut album, The Awakening.

Journeying to Nashville to make the pivotal album, she credits the connective creative energy of Music City and a close working relationship with the album’s producer, two- time Grammy winner, Shannon Sanders (India.Arie, John Legend, Robert Randolph) with instilling the necessary focus to turn such personal stories into universally themed gems that resonate with the listener from start to finish.

Laura’s magnetic versatility shines through on The Awakening, with gems like the empowering “Struggle,” or the upbeat “Wake Up,” which has been featured on VH1’s hit show ‘Hollywood Exes’ and the Alicia Keys indie film endeavor ‘The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.’ The unsparing ‘Wolves’ also reflects Laura’s ‘world music’ roots, where her almost indiscernible Latin scat flows seamlessly into a neo-soul-themed cautionary lyric about staying true to one’s self.

Best known, previously, as the front woman of the south eastern/jam-based funk band Laura Reed and Deep Pocket,  she tabled the funk/Reggae-informed shadings for a more intimate but accessible exploration on The Awakening.

Laura’s savvy musical chops and years of working-band experience also served her in crafting the cornerstone album of her career. She has been joined by some stellar singers and musicians on multiple past projects, including George Clinton, Killer Mike, Karl Denson, Robert Randolph, The Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown and Jewel. She’s also shared stages with a star-studded list of artists including  Mali Music, India.Arie, Miguel, Daley, Valerie June and Anthony Hamilton, among others. She was recently invited to perform at New York’s famous Madison Square Garden to sing the National Anthem, wowing fans with the breadth of her astonishing vocal command and range.

 

www.laurareed.com  Follow on facebook Laura Reed

 

Ms Harmonica

 photo by Lisa Smith

photo by Lisa Smith

Cecilia LoForti, known as Ms Harmonica, was born in Central California, where she was educated and immersed in Music and Art. She completed an AA and BA in Fine Art and began informally studying music within her musical family. At the age of 6, Cecilia developed an ear for music. At that time she began exploring dance and musical instruments like piano and violin, which over the years lead to guitar, saxophone, Indian flute, jew’s harp, percussions, a variety of hardware instruments like the saw (having had a father who was a carpenter), and ultimately, she chose The Harmonica which became her master instrument…her life long traveling companion.

Cecilia’s first influence was her mother, an Italian immigrant who played piano and harmonica and introduced her to these instruments. At age 12, while traveling in the Old Country, her mother bought Cecilia, her first harmonica and taught her a few notes. She excelled from there and was basically self-taught! She was most inspired by her mother’s “Boogie Woogie” piano playing and they were often found playing duets in a variety of styles over the years.

Cecilia has lived in six countries and five U.S. states, and has now traveled to over 44 countries, cultivating music styles and exploring artisan communities. Her performance, style, and concepts have been greatly influenced by her travels and the various cultures she had listened to and played in. Her style is a sharp rhythmic and crisp phrasing that rolls with every changing beat. Her beatbox funky chords combined with with an aggressive speed in double time will stop you in your tracks and point you to the stage! She has a diversified range of expression that shows when she sings in her sultry funk ‘n’ blues voice and plays her heart into her instrument. She describes the word “SOUL” as an inner place and that “MUSIC” is where she goes to find that place.

In the mid 90’s Cecilia went from being a ‘closet’ musician to playing in open mics around San Diego, California. She began to make a circle of talented musician friends and followers thus starting her career in Music. Everyone always referred to her as that talented ‘harmonica girl’ which then eventually morphed into her present stage name MS HARMONICA.

After years of playing venues in a variety of places, she found herself immersed in the Portland Oregon Jam Scene which planted the seed for her current endeavor THE TRAVELING HARMONICA. Cecilia combined all her skills of harmonica, art, graphics and traveling, mixed with culture and the language of music and developed a unique website blog which unites Music, Travel and Cultures together with a word she coined “JamTrotting”! There you will find a list of jams around the world, interviews with renowned musicians, travel tips with equipment, obscure stories of the road, info on Residential Traveling and posts which contributing writers keep updating. Photos and videos of Jams in which Ms Harmonica plays in, are all available to view including her personal travels. She began traveling in May 2014 documenting her JamTrotting experience around the world, along with every musician or band, busker or fan for the blog! In Sept 2015 she traveled by motorcycle all the way from Amsterdam to Turkey covering 15 countries in 60 days…next she is heading to South East Asia… into Indonesia and Singapore to continue her JAMTROTTING Journey! One never knows where you will run into Ms Harmonica!

Achievements include:

2015 ~ Lee Oskar FEATURED ARTIST Documentary film of Ms Harmonica and THE TRAVELING HARMONICA.www.thetravelingharmonica.com
2015 ~ Ruf Records First All Female Harmonica 2 set CD, ‘BLUES HARP WOMEN’ featuring artists from around the world. Ms Harmonica’s song, DOCTOR ‘C’. Released Nov. 2015.
2012 ~ Was asked to join www.Hermonicas.com website of all female Harmonica Players
2000 ~ San Luis Obispo Blues Society voted in as a CENTRAL COAST BLUES DIVA and opened and closed ROUNDUP outdoor concert with 4 other chosen Divas.

Ms Harmonica has played a variety of venues including, but not limited to: Universities, Theater Productions, Saloon/Bar/Club, Brewing Facilities, Festivals, Private Parties, Correctional Facility (Prisons), Blues Societies, TV shows, Radio, Craft Markets, Farmers Markets, Holiday Events, Shopping Centers, Cafe/Restaurant/Pubs throughout the world….and more!

www.TheTravelingHarmonica.com  Follow on facebook Cecilia Loforti

 

 

LEE OSKAR 2016 photo 1_3 (1)

www.leeoskar.com

Categories
press release

A Man and His Instrument: Dedicated to Excellence There’s no one in the music world quite like Lee Oskar. As a harmonica virtuoso, composer, producer, performer, visual artist, harmonica manufacturer and ever-evolving musical explorer, Lee is truly a creative visionary known and loved all over the world for his unique artistic contributions to the world. Lee is thrilled to share his signature music with loyal fans around the world, featuring new arrangements, innovative compositions and well-loved hit material, performed along with outstanding musicians selected from the Pacific Northwest. Known as Lee Oskar & Friends, his talented new band incorporates guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, percussions, and saxophone to accompany his harmonica play. His iconic role as a founding member and lead harmonica player for the pioneer funk/ jazz band that composed and recorded such hits as “Low Rider”, “Spill the Wine”, “Why Can’t We Be Friends”, “Cisco Kid”, “The World is a Ghetto” and many more, won him international renown for over three decades (1969-1993). Lee Oskar and his original band mates continue today as the LowRider Band. Oskar's position with the band was a prominent one from their early days with singer Eric Burdon and beyond. His signature harp solos helped to define the momentous sound from the band's beginning in 1969, adding dashes of color to their R&B/Jazz/Rock and Latin influences. Audiences marvel at Oskar’s improvisational wizardry, as well as his animated stage presence. In the words of Seattle Times critic Misha Berson, “The harmonica man can really blow, but he can croon, too.” In addition to playing melodies, Oskar says he loves playing horn lines and counter lines, “My harmonica playing has evolved creatively over the years. It’s important for me to create space, not fill in space, within the music. “ The eclectic, multicultural nature of the band’s music is also evident in Oskar's solo projects. Three stellar albums released between 1976 and 1981 (and recently rereleased on CD, including self-titled Lee Oskar, Before the Rain and My Road, Our Road) brought critical and popular acclaim including being voted No. 1 Instrumental Artist of the Year for 1976 in three major industry mags: Billboard, Cashbox and Record World. The albums, like Oskar's electrifying live performances, show the diverse influences that make up this hard-to-categorize musical giant. A renowned composer, Oskar’s compositions have been featured on movie sound tracks and television commercials around the world. He has also been the recipient of many Gold and Platinum recordings and honored with special ASCAP Writing Awards. In addition to composing, recording and performing, Oskar runs his successful harmonica company, Lee Oskar Harmonicas, which was introduced in collaboration with Tombo Mfg. of Japan in 1983. Today, Lee Oskar Harmonicas have become a household name with sales that are well-established and growing at a phenomenal rate worldwide. Oskar is dedicated to spreading the love of harmonica play to instrumentalists of all kinds, styles and levels as well as singer-songwriters. To this end, he has created an easyto-follow QuickGuide educational system to help musicians readily incorporate the harmonica into their music for elevated variety and artistry. Visit: www.leeoskarquickguide.com Oskar continues in his passion for composing and playing music and looks forward to sharing many new projects that are currently in the works. As a longtime believer that “painting is like composing music, it comes from the same place,” Oskar is also an acclaimed visual artist whose stunning and dramatic works capture the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest through boldly contrasting elements set against vividly colored tonal backgrounds. For more information, visit: www.leeoskarpaintings.com
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