I guess what they say is true, you can make music out of just about anything.
A video that my musician friend Mark Gavoor (and fellow blogger) posted a humorous video on social media (which we have all seen before, but nevertheless, still captivating) prompted me to think about musicians that perform music using non-musical methods or non-instruments. I even hesitate calling something “non” as I started to say – you can music many ways. I decided to look up a few musicians that are talented in their own rite but not from playing instruments out of random objects.
Probably the best I have heard is the musician Mark posted, the late Danish folk artist Peter Bastian. Not much could be found on Bastian other than he was a classical bassoon player and author. This clip of Bastian playing Bulgarian music through a plastic drinking straw while utilizing a circular breathing technique is mind blowing.
Another social media phenomena is Linsey Pollak who turns a carrot into a clarinet using an electric drill a carrot and a saxophone mouthpiece, and plays it all in a matter of 5 minutes. He has worked as a musical instrument maker for over 30 years and has designed a number of new wind instruments as well as specializing in woodwind instruments from Eastern Europe (having studied Macedonian bagpipes in Macedonia). His TEDx presentation has attracted over 7 million views.
It would be difficult for me to write this story without mentioning Michigan native musician, Frank Pahl. Not necessarily creating music using just inanimate objects, his group Little Bang Theory performed on some non-conforming traditionally instruments, many of which are toys. Very unique and entertaining to watch live! Plastic toy instruments can be often heard in his compositions. In recent years, his group has performed an original soundtrack for the silent film horror classic Nosferatu.
Of course, I need to include another musician friend, Scott Wilson who created a few videos several years ago playing both an oud and kanun made out of….a dresser drawer. Scott definitely was thinking “outside of the box” (Sorry Scott, couldn’t resist!) when he put this together.
Maybe the funniest video I found was on Conan O’Brien. He interviewed Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck who started the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra.
Finally, back to using vegetables (and quite honestly, a great clip to end on!)…one can not go without talking about the Vegetable Orchestra from Vienna. They have been performing for over twenty years on fresh vegetables! Music styles from electronic, acid-jazz, and house-DJ type music.
I think this is the perfect end to a 2021 year, wishing all a Happy New Year for 2022! Lets hope its a better one….