Jean Labre (photos M. Vicent-Roubert)All the Harmonicas
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Helmut Hohner Death

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Helmut Hohner has passed away on June 29, in his home in Villiers sur Marne (Paris suburb), at the age of 87. With him disappears an endearing character of the past century, atypical and outstanding technician, loyal friend loved by all of us who were fortunate enough to cross the path of this exceptional man.
I met him in 1947. Helmut, born in Trossingen, had just been assigned to the prestigious Hohner harmonicas branch which is, coincidence, bearing the same name.
We met in a building situated in the street "Des Petites Ecuries" in Paris. Mythical place in which was the headquarter of the French Hohner branch, and, in the third floor, the CHARM Harmonica Club of Albert Raisner and the accordion school of Medard Ferrero. That's when Helmut, though he was a discreet man, revealed himself and became in fact the unifying cement, the soul of this community... Ideally placed for this, being the first person we met when entering the building, like a concierge, his workshop being located on the ground floor.
The Helmut's workshop! An Ali Baba cave in which we found immediately a solution to our problems at the bottom of a drawer or on a shelf, or in his expert hands ; he was a meticulous tuner and restorer of instruments, a magician of harmonica and accordion.
The time has passed. We found ourselves repeatedly in Trossingen at the "Alter Krug" Inn, meeting place of the French delegation attending the FIH Festivals. I remember a memorable evening there, in 1989, shared with him and our friend Claude Garden, in a great shape that night...
We will miss you Helmut.
I offer my very sincere condolences to his wife and his family, which my harmonica friends are sharing in.

Jean Labre

Photo( Rejan) taken in 1985 in Paris during the cocktail of his retirement.
Published August 11th 2012

 

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