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John Kerkhoven

Photo: Peter Graham

I got my first harmonicas in my teens and I always loved to sing. In university, I took my first harmonica lessons with Keith Bennett and played at house parties. After years of freelance graphics design work and a Master's degree in Philosophy, I shifted my focus to music, and to the harmonica.

In my mid-forties, I cut my teeth playing in the Montreal metro, belting out blues songs a cappella and playing harp through a small practice amp. I took lessons with Pascal Veillette and Jason Rosenblatt and moved my act above ground, beginning to collaborate with local musicians.

For ten years I have played and performed with Patrick Hutchinson in BluesReel, a blues-Celtic duo; and with Paul Serralheiro and Stephen Barry in the Mojo Vipers a blues and jazz trio. I also perform solo.

On the folk, roots and blues scene in Montreal, I have performed or recorded with, among others, Clarksdale Moan, Dakka Dembélé, The Durham County Poets, Eleuthera, Pat Loiselle, Deacon George and Jitterbug Swing. I participate regularly at Montreal's Harmonica A Cappella events, a great source of inspiration for me since I began playing here.

My influences include early blues and jazz, Delta blues, gospel blues, Chicago blues, as well as traditional tunes from the Celtic and North American folk and rural traditions.

I am currently working on a project called Waltzes and Blues.

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Photo: Elise Thierry

BluesReel: Blues and Celtic Grooves

A contemporary duo in the folk tradition, BluesReel performs songs and tunes, old and new, from both sides of the Atlantic. Our original material ranges from love songs to instrumentals to street-level reflections on modern life.

John Kerkhoven, harmonicas and vocals
Patrick Hutchinson, guitars, whistles and vocals

Our two albums, Saint-Quentin (2020) and Riverfield (2016), are available on Bandcamp.

Mojo Vipers

Photos: Peter Graham

Mojo Vipers: Blues and Jazz

The Mojo Vipers is a blues band and jazz trio rolled into one smoking ensemble.

The Mojo Vipers perform songs and instrumentals by Little Walter, Freddie King, Sun Ra, Mose Alison, T-Bone Walker and Louis Jordan to name but a few.

John Kerkhoven, harmonica
Paul Serralheiro, guitar
Stephen Barry, bass

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