It’s true. I grew up blowing the harmonica along the banks of the Cuyahoga River. It wasn’t till many years later that I learned that the grandmother of the harmonica is an amazing mouth organ from SE Asia — the melodious Khaen. It turnsed out that the preeminent scholar of the Khaen lives in my hometown, Kent. Dr. Terry Miller led me to remote villages in NE Thailand where I met the makers of this remarkable instrument. Today, the khaen is my signature instrument. I play it very differently from the Isaan people of NE Thailand. My playing is guided mostly by my years of playing the rhythm harmonica while walking along the Cuyahoga River.
Here’s a piece that I call “Khaen Rock”