CHRIS DEPINO BIOGRAPHY Music has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Growing up in an Italian family in New Haven, Connecticut, I was constantly surrounded by the velvet sounds of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and, of course, every New Year by the legendary Guy Lombardo.
Needless to say, the first instrument I got my hands on was what every Italian kid from an Italian neighborhood was supposed to play - the accordion. Not from a lack of trying, the accordion decided it was not for me.
My musical home eventually became the harmonica - perfect for playing as I was riding the rails as a train conductor for Metro North in 1971, at the ripe old age of 19.
For the next seven years, I played in various blues bands throughout Connecticut refining my instrument and trade. In 1978, I decided to take up the white whale of all harmonicas - the chromatic harmonica.
For those of you who don't know the difference, regular blues harmonicas are designed for a single key, while the chromatic harmonica uses a sliding key scale, requiring constant adjustment of not only breath, but hand and finger movements, to ensure a pure musical note.
The instrument has the same range as the flute and can be applied to many different forms - from classical to contemporary and jazz.
It really is Bach to blues to bossa nova for me. I studied with the world-renowned classical harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio at the Turtle Bay Music School in New York City.