Wilf Sim and his harmonica, a musical time machine.
Wilf Sim and his harmonica, a musical time machine. Jonno Colfs

Musician breathes life into golden oldies with harmonica

WARWICK man Wilf Sim has a time machine, which he keeps in his pocket.

Others may know it as a harmonica, but to Wilf and his fans, when he blows a little harp it's a like a trip back through time.

A talented and soulful performer, Mr Sim said his music had to come from the heart.

"You can play the melody, or you can play the melody with soul and all of your heart," he said.

"That's the difference and that's what has the ability to transport people."

Playing the golden oldies for the older generation, Mr Sim said his music evokes special memories for his listeners.

"It might remind them of a time, a place or a person, like their father or grandfather," he said.

"When I'm playing in town, the younger generations show their appreciation too, but I play the songs the older generations know and love."

Only relatively new to the skill, Mr Sim first picked up a harmonica about 15 years ago, practising for seven years before playing live.

"I thought learning the instrument would be easy," he said.

"But it wasn't as easy as I thought at all, there's an art to doing it well."

Mr Sim has had a long association with Warwick, first setting foot here for a brief period of schooling at Central when he was eight years old.

"My father was a bit of a gypsy," he said.

"He was a hard man, hell-bent on discipline - he'd come straight out of the army and that's how he expected everyone else to be."

Mr Sim said the family travelled around a lot, from farm to farm as his father found work.

"I'd have to leave friends and make new ones all the time," he said.

"Electricity was pretty foreign to me as a kid, I didn't see TV until I was 16.

"We roughed it a lot, which gave me an appreciation for the land and the people who work it."

Throughout his life Mr Sim has worked as a quality control and research and development officer in a margarine factory, a travelling insurance salesman, a production manager at the Warwick woollen mills and a TV and radio advertising salesman for Southern Cross Austereo.

Now retired, Mr Sim plays his harp at parties, weddings, events, nursing homes and throughout Warwick during the Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival.

Find Wilf on his Facebook page: Harps 4 Fun.



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