Legendary Harmonica Player Lee Oskar Wants You to ‘Never Forget’

Sometimes, it’s really hard to remember. It may be because the topic at hand is too difficult and you don’t want to embrace it again. Or it may be that the topic is so old now that it has not been clarified in its details all these subsequent years. But what if the subject is so important that people – even the world – have to remember it because it becomes more distant in rear view if only to ensure that it never reappears again in real life. For musician Lee Oscar, these questions are of paramount importance in his life and career. Oscar, the son of a Holocaust survivor, is also a founding member of the War squad (of “Low Rider” fame). Oscar also has a new LP, Never forgetslated for release on Friday (January 28). It’s an album born out of his mother’s and sister’s experience as two people escaping from the horrific death marches.

“My mom and her younger sister, they survived the death march when the Nazis wanted to get rid of the rest of the evidence…My grandmother got the gas chamber,” says Oscar, 73.

In an age when it is easier to resort to countless other acceptable options than to stare hard at the fact that some people wanted to exterminate another group of people, it can be difficult to remind people of how the Holocaust existed and how it could exist again if it were to be. Indulging in wrong thoughts. Today, the phenomenon known as “Holocaust denial” is as powerful as ever. This keeps Oscar awake at night. Which is why he decided to write and record his new LP.

He says, “If I was going to the grave, and I didn’t do this, I would have felt ashamed or remorse or felt angry at myself.”

Oscar knows that the possibility of another event like the Holocaust is more than possible. In fact, it’s a fine line between forgiving and using another group as a scapegoat. So, to avoid another catastrophic event like this means examining the politics and philosophies that led to it, and not forgetting about it. Humanity has always had the capacity for ugly behaviour. So avoiding this fact is not the answer.

“My mother was devastated by [her experience in the holocaust]’,” Oscar says to the American songwriter. Moreover, in her later years when she was learning the news [people don’t believe it happened]-It’s unbelievable.”

Oscar says he fears this could easily happen in the United States, a country he sees as moving more and more toward tribal sentiment.

Oscar says, “No one man, however bad and evil—not one man can do without humanity.” So, the blame is not on them [Hitler, Mussolini]. Blame humanity for buying nonsense. Buying publicity makes them feel right and the blame falls on someone else.”

Oscar has always loved music. He was six years old when he got his first harmonica, the instrument for which he is now famous. The musician was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and at the age of six got his first instrument after being visited by an American family. He loved radio and envisioned himself as the conductor of great symphonies. And when he got the harmonica, he carried it everywhere with him, played it, and used it as an extension of his voice. He was able to evolve with her at his own pace. He says that had it not been for the harmonica, he would have been considered “musically hopeless,” despite his great love for songs. Oscar notes that early musical education leaned toward scales and memorization, not necessarily artistic expression.

“Without the harmonica,” Oscar says, “there would be no window for me to create the music.”

Later, Oscar became a master of the harmonica. Despite the fact that often in his development he felt academically incompetent, it was his personal relationship and artistic expression that later made people describe him as talented. In 1969, he founded the funk rock group War with singer Eric Bourdon. He moved to the United States wanting to make it into the big music industry. Oscar says that when he met Bordon and the two began assembling the war, it seemed like a dream come true. Within the war, he had a creative mission.

“I told Eric, my dream was to be part of a horn section,” he says. “I’ve always loved the idea of ​​playing the harmonica on the lines of the melody with another instrument in unison like the saxophone or the flute. It was part of my vision to be part of the band.”

For anyone who’s heard “Low Rider,” Oscar has clearly fulfilled his dream (you may have sung with his harmonica hooks). now with Never forgetIt achieves something else. On them, hits such as “Song From Mom” and “World For Peace” sparkle thanks to the melodic, rhythmic and sometimes even harmonica playing. The record is quite useful, but it also features audio recordings and other audio recordings chosen by Oscar. He remembers his mother crying at random moments. Suppose, if by chance the bottle breaks, it may collapse. These things were on his mind when making it.

To emphasize these messages, Oscar took extra time to take album notes. He really cared about the LP and all its content – it’s so important. His hope now is that others will research it and take special interest. Music, after all, is just another way to make sense of the world around you, no matter how hard it may be to absorb it at the time.

“I would tell the world to support the arts, not because it makes people feel good, but because it’s a great way to see how people think,” Oscar says.


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