Paul Gillings

A life with the mouth organ.

At the age of 11, Paul heard the harmonica for the very first time whilst sitting round a campfire at a Boy Scout cook-out. The harmonica was being played by his Scoutmaster at the time: Norman Ives. At that time Norman Ives ran a mail order harmonica business as well as being a part-time Scoutmaster. A bunch more of the scouts became interested in the harmonica and pretty soon they had enough for a full harmonica group. Around this time Norman Ives met with David Michelsen (AKA Dr Midnight) and between them started 'Harp Start' a free harmonica school for underprivileged children.

The kid's harmonica group was called 'Random Sound' and toured the world. They appeared at Glastonbury festival, played on cruise ships and appeared on many national and international TV shows. The highlight of Random Sound's career was being invited on Disney's 'Mickey Mouse Club' during a US tour in 1990 to accept a 'Golden Mickey' award for outstanding talent. During this American tour they appeared on CNN's Nashville Now and CBS Good Morning America in New York.


In 1993 Paul won the World Harmonica Championships in the Youth Blues/Rock and Youth Diatonic Jazz/Melodic sections which was held in the Hohner stronghold of Trossingen, Germany. After winning the World Harmonica Championships Paul received an endorsement from Lee Oskar himself and became a Lee Oskar Preferred Player. As a consequence of the win Paul also appeared on the very popular UK Children's programme 'Blue Peter'. Paul, Norman and David then toured as harmonica group 'The Midnight Specials' taking in most of the UK and most prominently the Channel Islands.

In 2003 Paul collaborated with Roger Trobridge, the then chairman of the National Harmonica League to relaunch 'Harmonica World' the club magazine and then stayed on a designer for 5 years. The magazine still has the new look and continues to rise in circulation. Paul can also been seen giving workshops on the harmonica at various harmonica events around the country; Blue Saturday in Bucks, H2017 in Bristol and Harpin by the Sea in Brighton and Hove.
Paul has played regularly with a number of local bands including 'The Harpoon Blues Band' who appeared on BBC's 'The One Show' in 2016 playing 'House of the Rising Sun'. In 2018 Paul joined The Jamos and Sir Mathew Band, an acoustic act that plays at festivals and venues around the east of England.

In 2018 Paul turned back to Songwriting and has been releasing tracks through Soundcloud to a great response with more than 80,000 plays to date. Solo tour dates  for 2019 included Jurnet's Bar in Norwich, The Fisher Theatre, Upton Blues Festival, Folk East and The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival. Keep up to date on gig dates on Paul's social media and below.

Paul's 2019 solo acoustic album 'You Don't Even Know' is on general release through all digital outlets

In March 2020 wanting only the best ZB proudly asked Paul to join their line up and he is now an official member of Zingaro Blue. It doesn't get better than this.

© 2018 by Zingaro Blue