Art Daane – harmonica performer and collector

Art Daane Cartoon
Art Daane

Art M. Daane was born in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1934 and he died in Eindhoven, Holland on 23 January, 2021. He was 87. He had lived a full life with his family and he will be missed by the world wide harmonica community for the work he did to document the artists and music he loved. He produced an exceptional archive which he shared with other collectors.

Art started out playing chromatic harmonica but he moved to bass harmonica after hearing the 5 Hotchas. He played with many harmonica groups.

In the 1951 he moved to South Africa to work as a butcher. Art met a chromatic player, Vincent van Rooyen, and in 1954 they formed The Relda Trio. Art moved back to Holland in 1961. He continued to play, even during his six year stay in New Zealand.

In 1989 Art went to the Word Harmonica Festival in Trossingen, Germany where he was reunited with Vincent von Rooyen and many other harmonica friends. On his return to Helmond he started the Catstown Harmonica Club.

Art loved to teach and promote the harmonica and the people who play it. He spent a lot of time doing research and writing articles about them. With support from his friends he established a Harmonica Museum in The Netherlands, in 1999. Part of the collection is the “Harmonica Hall of Fame” collected by Art and ex-Harmonica Rascal Lou Delin. After the opening, Art restarted The Relda Trio again but this time with Art on chord.

Unfortunately his deep involvement in harmonica organisations like the IHO, led to visits to South Africa and various European countries to promote the harmonica and a visit to Singapore and Malaysia, so he resigned from the trio in March 2002. More visits to South Africa followed to set up a harmonica school and he reformed the original Relda Trio from the 50’s with Vincent van Rooyen to record one of Vincent’s own compositions “Wineland Seties” for Art’s CD project in Holland. This project is a compilation of Dutch harmonica players 1947-2002.

Art emigrated to South Africa in 2004 where he met up with an old friend Johann Kok and they performed as the Helderberg Harmonica Duo until Johann’s death in 2008.

Art moved to Florida, USA in 2017, but in November 2020 he returned home to Holland. He had been ill for many years and he died from complications caused by covid in Jan 2021.

I have been involved with the National Harmonica League (UK) – now HarmonicaUK – as Chairman, Archivist and Editor of its magazine, Harmonica World, for around 20 years. I first met Art in 2000 in Bournemouth and we stayed in contact until his death.

We had many common interests in chromatic players like Ronald Chesney and Art’s fellow countryman, Max Geldray as well as the well known European, Asian and American soloists and harmonica groups.

Art was in contact with many other collectors of harmonica music, including two from England, John Bryan and Brian Holland, who probably had the largest collection of information about the members of the Borrah Minevitch Rascals and many other groups. Following the death of John and Brian these collections came to me – Roger Trobridge