Katrin – The Greatest Harmonica Player
The highest energy recording of the tens of thousands I have researched is one I made many years ago of a sixteen-year-old patient. She was not only mentally and physically challenged but had also been severely autistic since early childhood. Of the latter she had been cured by the devoted love and care of her older sister.
Katrin loved to play the harmonica. She would play it for hours a day — so much so that she had a chronic rash around her mouth from it. She did not hold it according to the instruction books — which she could not read anyway — but grasped it as if it were an oversize sandwich. She did not know where the notes were. And of course she could not read music. In fact she never played anything but her own spontaneous inventions.
Like most of her music, the recording I made of her playing was directed to her sister, Susi, whom she loved so dearly and to whom she was so grateful. She played with such vigor and passion and such obvious outpouring from the heart. She would dance as she played and would call out, “Do you like it, Susi?,” “This is for you, Susi, this is for you.” Listening to her was just a wondrous experience. Her songs were obviously songs of love and gratitude.
I have played this recording to many people over the years and nearly everyone is impressed with it: one can sense the magic and the healing that is in it. There is no song in a conventional sense. But, by God, there is a Song, with a capital “S”! However, when they hear the recording some musicians look down their noses at it and look at me queerly for having played it. These are the ones who have forgotten what music is really about. But most listeners quietly nod their heads and remember that long ago this was how they wanted to play and they realize that, even now, deep inside they still do.
Recently I thought to contact her again. And there she is after more than forty years since our we last communicated, still living with Susi, and still playing with the same love and devotion to her.
Katrin’s music-making is a wonderful example of what I call haraga. Haraga comes from two Japanese words; hara, the psychic center of the body, and ga, painting, and by extension any kind of creativity. The hara is located in the belly, as it were the womb. So haraga is when our Creativity is at its most Maternal, when it is coming truly from the Mother inside us. And that is Katrin’s music – unmediated from her hara, from her very Soul, her Muse.
The Greatest harmonica player?
Not Larry Adler,
nor Bob Dylan,
nor Charlie Musselwhite.
– it’s Katrin.
100% Pure Haraga!!
But she’s so impaired!
Every, every note
of grateful love
to her sister
who mothers her
– as her Haraga.
to their mother.
Thank you, Katrin, for all the many you have inspired over the years through this recording.
Recording of Katrin Playing (1979)