Interview with Christelle Berthon

Elwood the Apprentice in conversation with the undisputed harmonica queen of YouTube.

By turns bold as hell and surprisingly self-doubting, Christelle Berthon is one of the most closely watched harmonica players on the web (over 2 million pairs of eyeballs, according to her YouTube stats). She’s a different kind of harmonica hero: instead of gin-soaked juke joints where the smoke hangs low off the ceiling, she found fame playing to jam tracks in front of a web cam at home.

She took time out of her gruelling practice regime to tell us about her decision to dedicate herself to harmonica, and share some insights to her style and influences. And as we soon found out, chasing the dream ain’t easy.

19 thoughts on “Interview with Christelle Berthon

  • February 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Now Christelle is my current favorite player. She can really get the sweetest sound out of our ‘chosen beast’, her classical diatonic is superb. Thanks for posting Elwood 😉

  • February 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    She’s certainly got a pleasant tone, yes yes.

  • November 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I am dying to know what type of mic she prefers, especially what she used in the torch club video and also what other equipment such as what amp and are there pedals?

  • April 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    She definitely got my attention after a sudden interest I got about the harmonica. While I was googling around for harmonica stuff, right after Christmas 2010, I found her on youtube and for the first time I got addicted on someone’s videos, her videos. Since then I watch all her new videos. Keep going, Christelle!!!

  • April 23, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Christelle u r 1 talented, gifted harmonica musician. I’m lady n my 50s starting harmonics. I wish u had online Sedona. I’m doing jp Allen’s harmonica online. Im frm Massachusetts. Visit Paris frequently since m daughter lives n London, did college n Paris. I sing, play little piano, flute, sing and write but want harmonics,. Maybe u have cd’s by this time if so, pls let me know or if u offer harmonica online, I’m interested. Please keep your dream alive and keep on harpin. God bless.

  • June 19, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Christelle. You are a great inspiration for me to play the harmonica. I am 68 yrs old grandfather and love to play for my grandchildren. I have learnt to play Orange Blossom Special from your YouTube version by playing along with you for about six months. It sounds great and is so much fun. Not so good without your backing though. I would like to put it on You Tube sometime but only with your permission. Thanks for sharing your rare tallent with the rest of the world and your zaney sense of humour.

  • May 29, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Fantastic, what a talent . christelle willnever be forgotten.

  • September 12, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Christelle, I’ve been trying to get in touch with you for more than three year. Now I found the way to do it. For me there is only one harp player to hear…YOU!
    I save every video I find of you. I use to play harmonica since I was 8 years old, but did not play enough to become an expert. However, I think harmonica is a beautiful instrument to learn and play.

    I’ve to thanks God to have meet you before…be too late. I like very much the way you decided to live;
    I’ve been trying to find some of your performances out of home… maybe they exist, but to see you playing at home is something great for me. WE KNOW YOU PLAY FOR PLEASURE NOT FOR MONEY… be sure all who know you through Internet will love you.

    ¡Gracias, muchas gracias por tu música!

  • January 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Christelle, Your a dedicated talented harmonica player with great emotion coming from your harps.
    Never give up on your Dreams!
    Have a blessed day!

  • September 25, 2016 at 2:18 am

    The struggles you must have overcome to get to the pinnacle to which you have achieved are impressive.
    Without question, you are a talent…….and a work-a-holic, that deservedly puts you at the top of your field.
    You have earned the respect of so many, myself included, to be an example of what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication to a specific field of endeavor.
    Keep the dream alive, Christelle.
    Keep my dream…..and the dream of so many others……..alive.
    God bless you and your God given talent.

  • October 30, 2016 at 2:49 am

    Christelle, you have the most creative and artistic sound I have ever heard from a harmonica. Having read your story above, I see that you have worked very hard to achieve this. I learned to play harmonica from my cousin in a boys boarding school in India (at that time Larry Adler was our idol): and did not play until I retired at age 65. Friends gave me $65 and I bought a Lee Oscar in C. I now play with our church House Band & I have to start Danny Boy with a Harp solo followed by singers singing the verses a capella. Quite moving. I took a lesson from our local Harmonica virtuoso and he suggested I try You Tube: which is how I found you.
    I would like to get a CD with you playing at home (not with a band) of the following tunes: Danny Boy; Over the Rainbow; Amazing Grace; Jesu joy of Man’s Desiring; Pachelbel’s Canon; Pie Jesu; Sheep May Safely Graze; one or two Blues tunes; and some of your choice. Is that possible? Oceans of love, Homi.

  • November 15, 2016 at 2:41 am

    I started playing at age 7 and still play but never played in full pledge last year I did post my feelings about you, today I say I have officially adopted you as much GURU.
    Like it or not you are stuck with me, lol
    Warmest regards, I have watched you from Paris to your last good bye song for poor struggling artist, and going to Australia.
    Love and Respects.

  • November 25, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Christelle, Homi Bam again. I would like to support you and send you an International money order: I do not use paypal. Please send me your email so that I can send it to you. My email is God bless.

  • March 27, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Christelle you are a very talented harmonica player I come a cross you by accident when listening to some other harmonica players but you blew me a way and now I listen to you as much as I can . You are not only a very talented musically but also a very beautiful woman and I like you humor. Iam studying the harmonica to I love the sound of this mighty little instrument.

  • January 25, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Hi Christelle, Im Bill from NEW ZEALAND. Im a harmonica player of sorts.
    I could listen to you playing for ever. Any chance I get you on U tube &
    play along with you, I dont read music so i find this is a great way to learn.
    keep up the great work Bill.

  • October 22, 2018 at 2:51 am

    Hace 4 años la descubrí y es excepcional, me emociono cada vez que la escucho. Soy un fan. De noche antes de dormir, la escucho. Una superdotada.

  • May 28, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Hello Christelle, I am a dedicated Chromatic player but when I hear you play all those tunes of the 50s onwards I feel like changing to the Diatonic harmonica.How on earth do you get those half notes,and the beautiful sounds,they seem so effortless? I run a Chromatic Harmonica Club in my home town. We don’t read music but we have lots of enjoyment with music written down as Tabs. Do you play by ear like me? Or do you read music? Whichever one it is, just keep playing such beautiful music like you do, and may you live forever. Eric.

  • May 28, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for your feedback and kind comments Francis. Your message won’t necessarily reach Christelle, so best to try her through her own website regarding the sight-reading question.

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