Name: Marko Balland

Country: France

Official Website: http://www.markoballand.com

Instruments Of Choice: Suzuki Manji (M-20 Diatonic)

 

Brandon Bailey

Marko Balland

"I just discovered the 'Manji' harmonica. First impression is that it's a beautiful object. A superb line, a robust comb, the decreasing hood... And then I started playing it. The sound is powerful, and every run of notes feels good with the 'Manji'. The balance of wood and metal create a perfect airtightness. The factory settings are perfect too, and this is not the case with some alternative manufacturers who sell unplayable harmonicas out of the box. It is a strength of the 'Manji'. I found all the fluidity of my playing in a few seconds. It's just fantastic. I think the 'Manji' harmonica is a great addition to the harmonica world. It's simply one of the best diatonic harmonicas in the world. I am proud and happy to be able to express a "Rock n' Roll" sound within me and and hear the 'Manji' respond to it."

Biogrophy

Coming from the blues, Marko made a trip to the US in 1985 to chill out with the most dangerous blues musicians on the planet. Back in Paris, he starts his first outfit: "Golden Blues Band" with whom he tours all over France. He plays with many Paris blues artists as well, notably with "Marwa Right" during the Banlieues Bleues festival. Having discovered rock through Jimi Hendrix, Marko Balland releases a Jimi tribute album under the title "Marko A Donf'Experience". He participates in several studio sessions as a sideman working for famous musicians. In parallel, he participates to the creation of recording studio "Le Chantier" in Montreuil (Paris). In late 2010 he releases a double single featuring the tracks "Pas Touche" and "Le Ciel Va".

The release of Marko's second album "Dentelles Hurlantes" (Howling Lace) really showcases the style and outlook of this singer / harp player: somewhere between blues and heavy metal, Marko is unquestionably the hardest sounding harmonica player of his generation! His powerful harp sound, very guitar inspired, oscillates between Jimi Hendrix and Reeves Gabrels. On this album, the lyrics by celebrated French writer Boris Bergman bathe his music in French culture while keeping the heavy Rock n' Roll vibe. The heavy rock touch is contributed by the Marseilles trio backing him: big rhythm guitar and bass sounds definitely push it towards metal. The collaboration with Stéphane Avellaneda (Ana Popovic's drummer) on "Pas Touche" is the cherry on the cake.

More recently, Marko began the recording of a collaboraion album with blues musician Ana Popovic and recorded the first single Lazy. In 2014, Marko joined the heavy blues outfit Hat Man Group Session

Copyright photo Ryland Reynolds.