Hang on, it’s an oud!


Blimpy had a post about jazzers Portico Quartet a while back, noting that they use the hang drum in their music. So I went to see them the other day, to discover that they use not one, but three! And Nick Mulvey uses drumsticks, not his hands, to play them. I share Blimpy’s enthusiasm for their newish album, ‘Isla‘.

They were support to virtuoso oud player Anouar Brahem. Perhaps best known for his interpretation of Balkan and Roma music on ‘Astrakan Cafe‘, this concert was based on his new line up and album, ‘The astounding eyes of Rita‘, which nilpferd introduced us to last year. I thought their warm and unprecocious East-West style was mesmerising. Whilst Anouar is the ‘master’, Klaus Gesling often eclipsed him on the bass clarinet. See what you think in the clips I took…

Gettin’ the hang of things

Dontcha just hate havin’ to learn new stuff? Anyhow, while El Blimpo is clubbing in London, I thought I would try my ‘maiden’ post at the new home (look Ma, no safety net). Took a long time to figure that registering with WordPress.org doesn’t open any doors, but I eventually cracked the secret of how to get a New Post thingy. (You have to pull out the third book along on the top shelf in the library, right?)

So, to business. Some of you may have heard of the hang drum. It’s got nothing to do with hanging – the word ‘hang’ is from a Swiss dialect, and means ‘hand’. It’s a relatively new invention by some Swiss folk, who seem to jealously guard the idea, and each one is made to order – no mass production. They are therefore still relatively unusual, though I see the occasional busker with one. They sound a bit like a Trinidadian steel drum, and given that I grew up there, perhaps I’m more than usually attracted to the sound. No doubt they can be incorporated into most types of music, but the tracks I’ve come across are mostly gentle, soothing, trippy-hippy instrumentals (one album is called “Music for deep sleep”!). You can read more about the history and technical aspects of the hang drum here.

Hang drum

Hang drum in action

A selection of hang music follows (hopefully)

Although I followed the instructions for Titles and Artists meticulously, none appear, at least in Preview. In case anyone wants to know, the playlist comprises:

And the groove – Davide Swarup
Rainbow – Ann Malone
Bergamot – Neil Golden
Solar Plexus – Trevor Namaste
Loca – Ravid

Right on, or twee? Whaddayathink?

EDIT: My apologies to Blimpy for having missed his earlier post on the same topic (and with the same Title!!) – read it HERE