Waah Ustaad! : Harish Nayyar from the land of Golden Temple

First harmonica-First song: It all started in 1990 when Harish, a college student was holidaying with his friends in Dalhousie. He purchased a Hero tremolo harmonica. After initial struggle, he could play the Indian harmonica Anthem- ‘Hai Apna Dil To Awaara’ from the movie Solva Saal. Within a few months, he purchased a Tower Chromatic harmonica and started playing Hindi songs on it. He also performed on stage during college functions. This was just a beginning and Harish never used the chromatic button because he was oblivious to the fact that the button is meant for getting chromatic notes in between some songs. Soon, he passed out of college in 1992 and played the harmonica once in a blue moon.

Passion for harmonica: Love for the Harmonica re-surfaced again in 2008 and Harish started playing harmonica regularly. He started uploading his renditions on the You Tube. It was during those days that he became popular through his channel. Our member Raman Khandelwal remembers talking to Harish Nayyar over phone in 2008 to convince him to upgrade to valved harmonicas of other brands. He also remembers how people used to identify this budding harmonica player. One day Shri Vinayak B., a senior harmonica player of Hyderabad told Raman about Harish that there is a guy who attempts new songs on his Tower harmonica and he has a good sense of melody. Very soon, Harish learnt the usage of slider button and started playing complicated songs. People used to discuss about this guy usually playing those songs impeccably on a ‘Tower’ which were never attempted on the harmonica. He proved that even on an ordinary budget harmonica, one can get wonderful melody. He has no basic knowledge of music and plays the harmonica by ear on a ‘C’ Chromatic harmonica by matching with the scale of karaoke tracks.

Soon, Harish upgraded to a ‘Swan’ valved chromatic harmonica. He improved his harmonica skills manifold times after switching over to a 12 hole valved chromatic. Later, he purchased a Hohner Larry Adler Pro 12. Currently, he plays on the Hohner CX-12 harmonica which is his most favourite instrument.

There’s one funny incident which Harish recalls. One day he came across an advertisement of a music institute in Amritsar which also mentioned ‘harmonica’ in the list of music instruments that were being taught. Harish went to the institute to improve his harmonica skills and found two young guys managing the institute and teaching the harmonica. They played some songs on the harmonica and demonstrated how they would go about it. Then they asked Harish to play some songs. Once, Harish started and played a couple of songs, they were dumbfounded and immediately requested him to join their institute as a harmonica tutor. Harish was reluctant to do so because he felt that he had miles to go and learn a lot before he starts teaching. He politely declined their offer and went back home.

Style and preferences: Harish usually plays Indian melodies. He enjoys playing those songs which were never attempted on a harmonica by other players. His style of playing can be easily identified by his ‘murkis’. Harish says that he can’t play any song straight. He naturally tends to use ‘murki’ while playing. He says “I listen to the song carefully before attempting it and believe that if one listens to the song right, one plays right and if one listens to the song wrong, one plays wrong. I try my best to play in ‘sur’ i.e. play correct notes as far as possible and if unnecessary, I avoid effects like hand vibrato and tongue slapping which may deviate from actual music.

HaLoH wishes Harish Nayyar a Happy Birthday! He’s celebrating his birthday on the 17th of November. Enjoy this rendition- ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’, yet another non-conventional song played on the harmonica by him.

More info on Harish Nayyar is available on the following links of our blog.


One must definitely listen to this Sindhi number ‘Dama Dum Mast Kalander’ played by him.

Harmonica Our Passion!

1 comment:

ajayvijh said...

Many happy returns of the day,
It would not be out of place to mention here that you initiated and encouraged me to record my own audio and video at home,
told me about the softwares to be used and helped me whenever I had some problem,
you were a wonderful host when I happened to visit Amritsar, two years back,
My family joins me and wishes you the very best, may you keep harping beautifully forever !!