The Washington Post

Artist, explained: Frederic Yonnet


Yonnet performs at the H.O.P.E. Inaugural Youth Ball at Trinity University’s Trinity Center on Jan. 17, 2009, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Abby Brack/ Getty Images)

Yonnet, who is set to play at the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration “A Mighty Stream,” presented by the NSO and NEWorks Productions on Jan. 7 at THEARC in Anacostia, talked with ArtsPost about performing with Badu at the 9th annual African American Cross-Cultural Works Blues and Jazz Festival in 2006.

“There’s this video where we basically play the harmonica together. It was totally spontaneous — I was totally surprised,” Yonnet said.

“On the video I was actually using two harmonicas because one of them was starting to act a little shaky. There was a stool standing behind Erykah and I. I switched [my] harmonica for a fresh one and put the broken one on the stool behind me. She turned around — she had a tambourine in her hand — she turned around, and put the tambourine down and grabbed the broken harmonica. So talking about schooling, she totally surprised me on this one. I had no idea that she actually could play! So she grabbed the harmonica and we had that spontaneous jam in the moment.”

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