Have you seen their har­mon­i­cas?

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

Craig Bracken hopes you’ll look twice if you hear the mel­low strains of a har­mon­ica. The blues mu­si­cian is ask­ing peo­ple to keep an ear out in the hope he might re­cover his stolen col­lec­tion.

Mr Bracken parked his ute in a lot be­hind a strip of shops in Royal Oak while he was at an ap­point­ment.

He came back 40 min­utes later to find the rear pas­sen­ger win­dow was smashed and thieves had taken sev­eral be­long­ings in­clud­ing a case hold­ing around 45 har­mon­i­cas.

‘‘I was go­ing to band re­hearsal that af­ter­noon so I had my harps with me. I usu­ally never, ever take them in the car. It was just that one day,’’ he says.

Har­mon­i­cas have lit­tle value to an­other mu­si­cian as they should not be shared for hy­giene rea­sons.

But to Mr Bracken th­ese ones are spe­cial.

‘‘Some of them are cus­tomised. Some of them I’ve had for 10 years. Some of them I bought from the States.

‘‘There’s a

lot

of work gone on there and the value around $3000.’’

Mr Bracken has been play­ing har­mon­ica for about 28 years and cur­rently plays with blues band The

is prob­a­bly Flam­ing Mud­cats. The band was in the mid­dle of record­ing its sec­ond al­bum when the in­stru­ments were nicked.

‘‘I got most of the al­bum down be­fore it hap­pened. There were just a few bits and pieces I didn’t. So I had to make do with what I had and bought some harps to fin­ish it off.’’

The stolen col­lec­tion was housed in a mod­i­fied mi­cro­phone case which is black with a sil­ver band.

It con­tained mostly ma­jor di­a­tonic har­mon­i­cas along with a few ex­pen­sive chro­matic ones.

‘‘They are all dif­fer­ent keys that you can’t just go and buy off the shelf, you have to or­der them in and it’s a has­sle. It’s not just things you can go and pick up to­mor­row.’’

Mr Bracken is try­ing to get the word out in case any­body comes across the case or in­stru­ments.

‘‘I’ve been try­ing to get at ev­ery har­mon­ica player in Auck­land and to see if they have heard any­thing.’’

There is a dis­tinc­tive yel­low sticker on each har­mon­ica in­di­cat­ing the key sig­na­ture.

Photo: TREFOR WARD PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Blues broth­ers:

The Flam­ing Mud­cats, from left: Sean McCarthy, Ian Thom­son, Craig Bracken and Doug By­grave.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews. co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video of The Flam­ing Mud­cats per­form.

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