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What is The Harmonica Pocket?

The Harmonica Pocket begins with the swinging songs of songwriter Keeth Monta Apgar. He delivers thick jazz chord progressions with storytelling lyrics wrapped up into thoughtful, mature songs.

Harmonica Pocket songs are brought to life by a rotating musical gang of players and are as diverse as the musicians who play on them. Along with numerous other players, instruments, and sounds, Harmonica Pocket regulars include:

As both a recording and live performance project, The Harmonica Pocket is known for its outside-the-box, headphone-pop, and highly improvised live shows laced with unusual cover songs.  The Harmonica Pocket also tours a children's show which has performed in sold out theaters, clubs, classrooms and libraries, and festivals nationally and internationally.

The Harmonica Pocket's 2015 release Sundrops, a Parent's Choice Gold Award and NAPPA Bronze Award winner, is a truly all-ages Singer-Songwriter album made for families with kids to listen to together. Silly, sweet, and catchy songs about playing outside and getting dirt under your fingernails make for a playful listen for kids and grownups alike. "A melodic dream" and "An acoustic treat," the album was produced at The Harmonica Pocket's solar-powered studio on a tiny island in Washington State.

The Harmonica Pocket has charted on core college and non-commercial CMJ radio stations around the country, is being played on satellite radio, MTV and other cable stations, and is currently being downloaded all over the planet.

Pull up a tea cup and slap on some Harmonica Pocket. Your ears will smile.

Top of page | Keeth Apgar | Jon Ryser | Nala Walla | PK

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Keeth Monta Apgar
(Guitar, Ukulele, Harmonica & Vocals)

"Keeth Monta Apgar uses vocal harmonies, jazzy chord progressions and emotive colors in such unexpected and delightful ways that each quirky song becomes discovered treasure." – Parents' Choice Foundation

In his twenty-eight prolific years of songwriting, The Harmonica Pocket's Keeth Monta Apgar has created an enormous catalog of music. With over 500 songs under his belt, Keeth weaves ukulele, acoustic wah-wah guitar, lush jazz chords and image-evoking lyrics into intelligent, refreshing pop. His soulful songs effortlessly span the genres, navigating Folk, Blues, Reggae, and Kindie.

Keeth holds a degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Mary Washington, spent half a year studying the didgeridoo in Australia and plays the mbira – a "thumb piano" from Zimbabwe. He composes music for dance companies and wrote a rock opera called The "Jigsaw Dog."

Keeth also writes and records music for kids. He teaches and performs at schools, festivals, and libraries up and down both American coasts. Featuring imaginative renditions of American folk classics plus an array of silly, sweet originals from their award-winning albums, Harmonica Pocket family performances mix music, dance and hula hoop into giggle-inducing shows that gets audiences singing and moving in their seats.

ASCAP has honored Keeth with multiple songwriting awards, and has booked him to perform at invitational songwriter workshops and showcase events in New York, Nashville, and Hollywood. His recordings have appeared on best-of lists and won numerous awards, including a pair of coveted Parents' Choice Gold Awards for Apple Apple and Sundrops.

Keeth has a growing collection of strange canned foods, and is not embarrassed to cite both Chopin and Eddie Van Halen as a major musical influences. He can be regularly found strumming up a tune on his ukulele, wearing an unusual hat, or getting his fingernails dirty in the garden.

Top of page | Keeth Apgar | Jon Ryser | Nala Walla | PK

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Jon Ryser
(Saxophone & Horn Arrangements)

Don’t arrest that man! The beautiful bald fella playing the horn is Jon Ryser.

Though Jon majored in voice at Dick Grove's School of Music (you should hear him sing Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come"), the alto saxophone is his preferred musical choice. Jon is a true listener, and his melodic ideas often reference the vocal melodies of the tunes he plays.

Regarding his approach to playing a solo on the horn, Jon says: "I try to begin with a strong statement and then elaborate on it, much like you would in a conversation. A solo is your time to really 'speak' to the listener. I try to say something worthwhile and coherent."

Jon, also known as "Big Talk," gets around. In addition to The Harmonica Pocket, the list of bands he plays with is longer than the line at the pancake breakfast on strawberry syrup day. Here is a much abridged, short stack sampling:

If you're looking for Jon he can be found sipping a warm drink with a wheat free cookie, creating electronic sounds for video games with names like "grutter flut air streaks” and "medium warble zop," or taking a stroll with his daughter Willow.

Top of page | Keeth Apgar | Jon Ryser | Nala Walla | PK

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Nala Walla
(Vocals, Dance & Hula Hoop)

Born in Queens, Nala Walla grew up sneaking out of her bedroom window to dance it up at New York City clubs. After seeing some of her first big trees in college, the city kid fell in love with nature. She made the move to Seattle and then spent two years sailing to Alaska and back on a catamaran.

Nala brings her transdisciplinary background to The Harmonica Pocket as a vocalist, improvisational dancer, and hula hoop artist.

Nala's movement style draws upon Contact Improv, Action Theater, Aerial Dance and Clown. Off-stage, she is a nutritionist, writer, and permaculture teacher who integrates principles of Ecology with interactive, body-based arts through her collaborative group Bcollective.

If you want to make a good impression on Nala, bring her a bouquet of organic vegetables, something chocolate, or some 10 penny nails to hit with her hammer.

Top of page | Keeth Apgar | Jon Ryser | Nala Walla | PK

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PK
(Upright Bass)

Paul "PK" Kemmish has been making noise in the Seattle music scene for 25 years.

PK helped found Rockin' Teenage Combo, PK & What Army?, and Dasrut. He spent 2 years touring internationally with Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam and is currently performing with The Harmonica Pocket, Eric Barber's MetriLodic, Beth Fleenor's Figeater, and various side projects.

PK grew up watching Bugs Bunny and when he sees a playground still runs to the swing set because, as a bass player, he likes to swing! He's a fan of Mingus, Miles, and Marley but is also inspired by musicians whose names don't begin with the letter M.

PK eats artichokes, loves turquoise jewelry but doesn't own any, and rides his bicycle everywhere.

Top of page | Keeth Apgar | Jon Ryser | Nala Walla | PK