Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1948, Oskar was six years old when a family friend gave him his first harmonica. "I came from an area where every kid on the block had a harmonica," he remembers. He grew up listening to Danish radio, enjoying all types of music and cites Ray Charles as the biggest influence from that period. When he was 17, Oskar decided that the United States was where a harmonica player should make his career, so he moved to New York at the age of 18 with little more than a harmonica in his pocket. With no money, Oskar played harmonica in the streets of New York. Eventually arriving in Los Angeles, California, via Toronto and San Francisco, Oskar soon met and joined forces with Eric Burdon who had recently disbanded the Animals and was searching for new collaborators. Together, the harp-playing Dane (born Oskar Levetin Hansen) and the British blues-rock singer made the rounds of the L.A. clubs, eventually hooking up with the soon-to-be members of War. Burdon agreed to the novel idea of pairing up Oskar's harmonica with Charles Miller's saxophone to form a horn section. This team-up set War apart from the start, giving Oskar room to display the full spectrum of his improvisational prowess. Oskar's harmonica magic was always a vital element in War's music and performances. Oskar continued with War for 24 years non-stop. At the end of 1992 he made the decision to end his association with that group in order to have the time to pursue his solo career. War
The eclectic, multicultural nature of War's music is also evident in Oskar's solo projects. Three stellar albums released between 1976 and 1981 (and recently rereleased on CD) brought critical and popular acclaim including being voted No. 1 Instrumental Artist of the Year for 1976 in not one, but three major industry mags: Billboard, Cashbox and Record World. The albums, like Oskar's electrifying live performances, show the diverse influences that make up this hard-to-categorize musical giant. A renowned composer, his compositions have been featured on movie sound tracks and television commercials. He has been the recipient of many Gold and Platinum recordings and honored with special ASCAP Writing Awards.