Herbert Quelle

Herbert Quelle

Herbert Quelle, the consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago, will speak on the history of the harmonica and its influence on the African-American blues culture Friday, Oct. 7, for the 2016 Kleinfeld Lecture at Wartburg College.

The free event begins at 4:30 p.m. in McCaskey Lyceum in Saemann Student Center.

Quelle, who has researched the harmonica’s 19th-century German roots, found that African-Americans gravitated toward the pocket-sized instrument because they were affordable and accessible. Their affinity for the instrument, sometimes called a mouth organ, allowed them to create new tonal ranges and forms of expression, which led to a greater universal appreciation for the blues.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Quelle on campus. I believe his talk will be well-received among broad segments of the campus community and beyond,” said Daniel Walther, Wartburg’s Gerald R. Kleinfeld Endowed Chair in German History. “It is a theme that can resonate with many different groups, above all those who have an affinity for music, history and culture.”

The annual Kleinfeld Lecture in German History, Culture and Politics is part of an endowed series made possible by a contribution from the German Studies Association. Kleinfeld is the founder and former executive director of the German Studies Association and a professor emeritus of history at Arizona State University.