Konstantin Kolesnichenko is a blues harp player from the Ukraine. He recently came out with an album titled “If You Want to See This Blues.” For more information, check out Konstantin’s Facebook page here.
We thought it would be interesting to find out more about Konstantin and his country, and he graciously agreed.
1. How long have you been playing harmonica and who are your primary influences?
I’ve been playing harmonica almost 12 years. I’ve had ups and downs in love with harmonica. In 2009 year I started to play with the band and it was my main breakthrough.
I have a lot of influences in harmonica, so better I’ll try to name my favourite harmonica players: Little Walter, George Harmonica Smith, Norton Buffalo, Paul deLay, Charlie Musselwhite, Gary Primich, Mark Ford, Jim Liban, Gary Smith, Kim Wilson, William Clarke, Kirk Jelly Roll Johnson and P.T. Gazell.
2. Do you play any other instruments?
Currently I’m playing only harmonica, but for 7 years I was studying piano in music school when I was child and once when I was student I even tried to play xaphoon. But now and forever Harmonica is my one and only! 🙂
3. Tell us about the new tuning that you have discovered.
I love not only harmonica and blues music. I’m a big lover of jazz, soul, funk and all this good music from the past. So I wanted to play melodies and I’ve tried to learn how to overblow… and now I can do overblows but I’m pretty bad with them. So I dig into alternative tunings and I found diminished tuning. It was a hard to play on it after 10 years with Richter. But I like it and have some results(you can see them on my youtube channel). I’ve played on it for two years. I wanted easier access to chromaticism on diatonic so I connected Richter and diminished tunings and get my brand new “Easy Chromatic”. It’s on 70% almost like Richter but you can get all missed notes in every position.
4. Tell us about the blues scene in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.
I don’t know much about Eastern Europe blues scene. There is a lot of bands in Russia (Moscow primarily), Belarus has a small blues scene. In Ukraine we have local bands and events (there were two harmonica festivals in Kiev, small blues festivals in Kiev and I’ve managed small blues fest even in my city – Dnepropetrovsk). Our blues scene is small but very friendly! And our blues players are all enthusiasts mainly. We have blues bands only in few cities: Kiev, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye. But some international musicians visited our country: Bob Margolin, John Nemeth, Guy Davis, Keith Dunn, Son Of Dave, Matyas Pribojszki, Howard Levy, Melvin Taylor, Lucky Peterson etc. I’ve even played with some of them! Guy Davis called me a brother! 🙂 Most of these events took place due to Max Tavrichesky – the main bluesman in our country. He is from Kiev.
5. In our lifetime we have witnessed Ukraine going from communist rule to a free country and now there are separatist who are supported by Russia attempting to bring the country back under communism, please tell us what this will mean to you and how it will affect your freedom to express yourself in music.
Thank you for this question. I hope all this will end soon. But now it takes my thoughts and feelings totally.
You know even when I was a child and lived in former USSR republic my parents grow me up with deep feeling and understanding of our Ukrainian background. So all these separatists and terrorists deeply hurts me. All this time they lived in our country, they ate our bread, they breath our air but they hate Ukraine without any reason for it. I can’t understand it. I don’t understand also for what reason russian mercenaries fight against our army. Where they took all their rage and hatred?! Before this big part of our people thought they were our brothers but now it have changed. I have a lot of friends in Russia and when all this begun… you don’t even realize what they wrote and said to me about my country (especially if take into account that our country does not infringe on their freedom and life). I broke a lots of relationships with some of them. I believe that there is a lot of good and honorable peoples in Russia but Kremlin propaganda turn a lot of them into kind of zombie.
Now we still live in free country and one of the songs from my album is dedicated to all people who fought and died for our freedom.
6. Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you wish to explore other genres of music? Do you wish to tour other countries?
I wish still to explore new ways to play harmonica, I wish still to collect music and have the chance to meet wonderful and talented people. I wish the blues music scene in my country will grow up and I will be there and will have possibility to play with greats.
I’ve already tried to play other genres of music, on my album there are jazz songs : “Sugar”, “Night train”, “In a sentimental mood”, one funkier song. I try to play everything that I like! Of course I wish some day to be at SPAH for example, I believe I can see some of my harmonica heroes when they still be in a good form and alive!
Thank you for questions Randy! Thank you for all you do for our small harmonica world!