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Twang and Click

Being at a folk festival with an injury playing up I suddenly found myself avoiding the dance workshops and heading to the music ones instead.

Having never really learnt anything musical (I've played around with the whistle and melodeon a bit and can get some vague tunes out of both, but that's about it), this was guaranteed to be interesting. As a result I've come away from Whitby with a Jew's Harp and 2 pairs of bones (being a vegetarian I obviously have wooden bones).

Anyway, just to make you all reach for your earplugs. Here's a recording of a group of us who'd been going along to the Wright families workshops at Whitby playing Jew's Harp in the final showcase at the end of the week:

(Direct Link)

Given it's a piece of music including me playing (although there were plenty of others to drown me out), it sounds surprisingly unbad.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
6th Sep, 2010 10:35 (UTC)
That sounds like really good fun!

I have no speakers so can't listen to it but I'm sure it's a complete treat! ;)
4th Nov, 2010 09:34 (UTC)
Hey that's really neat. My best instrument is a saap which is basically a wooden thing that we clap during Bhangra ( punjabi - north Indian dance/music). It looks like a little fence but the name saap basically means snake because the instrument also looks a bit like one.
4th Nov, 2010 18:50 (UTC)
Been very tempted to get another Jew's harp in a different key ever since or a whole set...

Have you got a photo of a saap (google/wikipedia both proving unhelpful)?
4th Nov, 2010 23:23 (UTC)
Why yes I do :)


And here Is a peachfuzz ( his face hair is little more than peach fuzz) with his saap. I actually have a couple of these mens Bhangra outfits because I couldn't find the ladies ghidda (female equivalent) outfits n have pics of mr with my saap and a tumbi (small one stringed banjo) but I have a creepy Internet stalker which has a long story so I don't post my own pics unless I've dobr artwork to them.)

6th Nov, 2010 12:44 (UTC)
Re: Saap
That looks amazing!

How do you play it? Just open and close it?
6th Nov, 2010 18:54 (UTC)
Re: Saap
that's exactly how it's played. it makes a clapping noise...it's a percussion instrument. then we have the kunda, which is basically an ornamental stick which is waved about, the kato which is a device on a stick with a string which is ulled and makes a slight clapping also, chimta which is basically a tambourine on a set of tongs, dhol is the big drum, algozey r a double flute which is played as one instrument - an older bhanra star named yamla jatt was famed for it, and the afformentioned tumbi - the little one string banjo.

i must also make note that bhangra refers to both the music genre and the dances that accompany it.

u can find all of the instuments here -


(i have a tumbi, chimta, and the saap[, along with ghungroo, whih are ankle bells. they r basicly jingle bells fitted to a cloth strip and tied to the ankle.) you can see them here -


some of the other instruments pictured on the pages, such as the Khartaals, harmonium and tabla are often used during kirtan (sikh religious songs.) in the gurdwara (sikh temple). the dholki/dholak (similar to a dhol), sarangi and sitar may also be used, but at my gurdwara i see the dholak, tablas, harmonium, and when they put our guru granth sahib (our holy book) away for the night, the sevadars (the volunteers and assorted temple workers) play the chimta in a procession. (if u havnt guessed by now i'm sikh. :) i'm also a mix of punjabi indian (north indian, where all this comes from), mongolian, and european. my grandad's mum was from india and married a western guy, and we gt mixed from there. i hwever try t preserve my culture because i see it and other cultures losing their morals to quickly, which is sumthing i often comlain about in my blog.
7th Nov, 2010 12:12 (UTC)
Re: Saap
There was a ceilidh band here (sadly defunct now due to health issues of one of the band members), who took English folk and blended it with traditional music from other cultures.

They had an Indian drummer (alongside an African one which led to some interesting combinations of rhythms). He played Dholak, Nall, Darabouka, Khol and Tabla.

There's still some of their stuff on Myspace http://www.myspace.com/bokahalat
7th Nov, 2010 21:14 (UTC)
Re: Saap
ughh that really sounds cool. there's a couple pakistani groups that have western guys in them....i knw at least one of them is married to a pakistani woman as well....n they make this awesome culture mix going on. done right, mixing cultures can be a great thing. they have a sound like a mix of indian n the kind of rock sound that creed made, with some ELO r there similar 70's rock type infleunces thrown in. really interesting. i went to a few drum circles too when i was younger. didnt have a drum but i sure danced my feet off. and fr the first time in a long time my besty and i havnt gone to celtic fest, which was held in the city i lived in for years till i moved to new york in august. we used t enjoy that. we r bth fans of tempest and similar stuff.
6th Nov, 2010 19:01 (UTC)
Re: Saap
those of us who respect our culture re vary catious abut western girls because they often get interested in eastern culture nd then want to marry eastern guys for attention n money n such. n the eastern guys have an bsession with paleness, and to marry a western girl, they r kind f rebelling against their culture, they think they r so cool by it. they also have a habit f treating their own women badly, s this is like a second slap in the face. n the western girls don't share the same morals and only pretend t in return for attention, however, western guys are just the opposite. the one ones who r open minded enjoy soaking up the culture and have fun without any stupidness, so we find it really cool when a western guy is interested n our culture. we r also happy to share n teach our culture to western girls who r open minded but firmly attached t their culture also, and have no intention of ding the afformentioned. (i must aplgize my keybard is a bit screwed up so it skips some letters at times.)
7th Nov, 2010 12:23 (UTC)
Re: Saap
I think, because English folk traditions have become somewhat separated from modern society, those of us that tend to get involved in them tend to be the people that would by fascinated by cultural traditions from other societies.

Some of the best folk festivals I've been to over here have been the ones that have got groups from overseas across to perform alongside the UK ones, but then you don't always get to find out about the context that the tradition evolved within.
7th Nov, 2010 18:43 (UTC)
Re: Saap
u know what, it's not even about being *just* english, or american, or whatever....or even *just* a cultural thing.....cultural differences in terms of traditions such as music and food can be dealt with easily. however, it's the difference in morals that is the big issue. now, my best friend who is i think scottish and hungarian and a few other things likes indian culture, but she doesn't pretend to be anything she's not, and doesn't try t impress anyone or try to force herself on anyone. she was also raised incredibly strict by her parents and has an extreme respect that most westerners don't have. western culture in general is taught to think with their body first and what they can get for themself first. they have the me first philosophy in general. so they are incredibly adept at manipulation. this is one of the things that if western culture didn't have these things, it would be a truly incredible society and alot of the world's problems would cease. sadly, the east looks up to the west, so they are increasingly getting this kind of thinking. however, i was in a security guard training class last month, and we discussed dfferences in culture. i told how in some parts f india u can b arrested for public dislays of affection. everyone else, except one girl who happened to be western, was like ewwwww hw could they d that, thats crazy, wtf, etc. and frankly, as harsh as it is, i am fully appreciative f it because i understand why it has to be. eastern culture is NOT kama sutra obsessed, and nt just abut yoga and such. actually we have very strict morals which are our keys t enlightenment - the basic common sense stuff that has been lost in the west. and like i said before, we love when westerners learn about us, and we learn abut the west. it's a good thing. but there r tw kind of westerners, especially with the women, for western women are often lacking their own identity. they want to be everyone else but comfortable in their own skin. they want to impress, they want showers of praise t the point it's a drug they become addicted to, they want physical satisfaction, etc. and to a pint western guys have this too, but not to the same degree. eastern girls (unless they have become too obsessed with fitting into western standards) don't have this as much. especially around the south asian/middle eastern women. they have their identity and they don't usually feel a need to impress. when they come to tne west then they r more likely to want to fit in and join the i want to be anything but myself crowd. sadly, eastern guys share more of the negative behaviorial pattern f western girls, so when they come together rmantically, it's a distructive thing. when the western guys come together with eastern girls, it's not so, because they in turn have similarities in some behaviorial traits. the western guys then tend to have more respect. even myself, especially because i'm a mix of east and west in my heritage - i stick to my roots, but i enjoy some aspects of western cultures...i like rock, celtic, jazz, classical music n such, and als enjoy european pop sometimes, as long as it doesn't sound like britney or backstreet boys r crap like that. i must say i can enjoy rap in any language other than english, especially when i have no idea what they r saying cu it's funny as hell then. and i find western food has just as rightful a place in my belly as eastern. clothes r another matter.....so r the things i watch on the telly. but u get the idea i hope :)
6th Nov, 2010 19:07 (UTC)
Re: Saap
the guy who uploaded this video belongs to a cult f westeners who pretend t be sikh (the sikh equivalent of the hare krishna whackjobs), but the video itself was done by real punjabis who r inncent and not connected to him or them. (i have a copy of this from another place before this was uploaded by him).


copy and paste, see if the link works. if not let me know. the video shows all the instruments in action and basic dance moves. i was hoping to find sum1 else who had posted this but this is my way f trying t avoiding giving the cult dude more attention which im sure u can understand. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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