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Brendan Power

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A master of the chromatic harmonica and blues harp, New Zealand-born and London-based Brendan Power has proven equally adept at playing pop, classical, rock, and traditional Irish music. In addition to playing on albums by such Celtic bands as Altan and Arcadia and Irish vocalists, including Paul Brady, Arty McGlynn, Nollaig Casey, and Mary Black, Power has toured Australia with Donal Lunny's Guinness Tour and appeared on albums by Sting, Van Morrison, Shirley Bassey, and classical guitarist John Williams. His debut solo album, New Irish Harmonica, was chosen by Folk Roots as one of the top albums of 1994, while, his 1997 recording, Brian Power Plays the Music From Riverdance, featured his arrangements of tunes from the hit musical revue. While London-based magazine Time Out credited him with having a "magic harmonica," the Irish Times praised him for his "remarkable technical skill, deep knowledge of the instrument and a truly creative approach to the music."

Residing in London since 1992, Power continues to make his presence felt in his homeland. In 1993, he won the All-Ireland competition in the miscellaneous instrument category. Power appeared on the BBC/RTE television series on Irish music A River of Sound and Celtic music shows Surt in Ireland and Taksi in Scotland. His songs provided the soundtrack for the Irish film Gulitrip, and Hollywood movies including Pushing Tin and Shanghai Noon. Power has also performed with the orchestra for Riverdance.

Power has consistently sought improved ways of designing the harmonica. His power reed valve system was adapted by the Suzuki Musical Instrument Company of Japan for their high-end ProMaster harmonicas. In a late-'90s interview, he explained, "as a player of both chromatic and diatonic harmonics, I'm constantly striving to make an instrument with the best features of both types for my own music. This has given me a lot of experience with such things as altered tunings, combining parts of different brands, half-valving, and general tweaking of the component parts to improve performance."