Welcome to our World Music Wednesday page! Every week, we will have a musical clip from around the world!
While many people associate drumming with music from Africa, there are many instruments and kinds of music from the region.
In The Gambia, a small country about the size of Jamaica or Connecticut off within the country of Senegal, there is a form of musical historical storytelling called Jali where the performer tells the stories while playing a Kora. A Kora is an instrument with 21 strings that looks like this:
Jali can be performed with a wide cariety of instruments depending on the performer's preference such as a balafon (a small xylophone) or a koni (a type of lute which is stringed instrument that is similar to an autoharp).
Here is an example of kora being performed in a small group
Happy Wednesday everyone!
This week, our world instrument is the tekerölant, also known as the hurdy gurdy from Hungary. While different versions of the hurdy gurdy exist all over Europe, particularly France, we are focusing on the Hungarian version specifically. Tekerölant translates to "Turning Lute" because of the handle used to turn the spinning wheel inside.
The hurdy gurdy has a very unique sound. There are between 3 to 5 strings inside of the instrument, but all have at least 1 melody string, and 2 drone strings that accompany the melody. There are also keys the player presses to play the melody, and a crank that is similar to a circular violin bow that constantly move against the strings to create the vibration.
Some people describe the hurdy gurdy as "a symphony in a box". The big sound that comes from the instrument is a clue why.
Here is a neat video over making the different parts of the hurdy gurdy.
This week's World Music Wednesday takes us all the way to Zimbabwe with the mbira dza vadzimu, more commonly known as a mbira.
The mbira, also known as a thumb piano, has a line or multiple lines of metal tabs that the player plucks with their thumb. Additionally, there is metal rattle, sometimes made out of bottle caps, that give the sound a distinct buzz. The metal is attatched to a hollow wood box. The mbira is also typically played inside of a large gourd.
The sound of the mbira can be described as relaxing, and the music is traditionally played as a way to heal.
You may also have seen this instrument as a DIY recipe in Animal Crossing: New Horizon.
There are quite a few different instruments and musical traditions associated with the Hawaiian islands. One tradition is the Mele (chant or poetry) Hula (dance) Pahu(drum), or drum-dance chant.
In a mele hula pahu, there is a vocalist singing and chanting the song, and various percussion instruments including the pahu and kilu, two different sized drums, and occasinall stamping tubes (ka'eke'eke) and gourds (ipu heke).
During the song, the vocalist dances and sings expressively to set the tone and show what is happening in the song.
Hula Pahu is dance with drums, Mele Hula are songs associated with dance.
This week our world music Wednesday takes us to China with Jiangnan sizhu, or the silk and bamboo ensembles. Jiangnan refers to the region of China these ensembles come from, and sizhu comes from the silk and bamboo, the different types of materials that construct the instruments that are used in the ensembles.
Before we get to the ensembles, it is important to learn what instruments are in the ensembles.
In silk and bamboo ensembles, you will find several of these instruments included including the erhu, dizi, xiao, the pipa, and more.
Here is a video of a silk and bamboo ensemble in action.
A movie where you can hear some of these instruments in the soundtrack would be the Disney movie, Mulan.
Happy World Music Wednesday!
This week, we are travelling to Australia to learn about the didgeridoo!
A didgeridoo is an Australian aboriginal instrument, meaning it was made by the first people in Australia to live there. The first didgeridoos were made around 1500 years ago!
When you play the didgeridoo, you buzz your lips on the mouthpiece end and buzz your lips by pressing your lips together, and acting like you are breathing out normally.
Very skilled didgeridoo players are able to do something called circular breathing where the player exhales out of their mouth and inhales through their nose. This helps the player play the notes for a very long time.
The didgeridoo is often used with ceremonial music with dancing involved and in most aboriginal cultures, only men are allowed to play the didgeridoo.
The sound of the didgeridoo is almost hypnotic and has a drone-like sound.
Here is a video of aboriginal artist, Jeremy Donovan, playing the didgeridoo.
Happy World Music Wednesday!
Today we are exploring the music that entranced French composer Claude Debussey: Gamelan music from Indonesia!
Indonesia is the largest archipelago (group of islands) in the world with over 13,000 islands total. While some are small and have no people living there, some of the larger islands like Java and Bali are very densely populated.
While music and music traditions can be different depending on the island, one of the most widely recognized musics from Indonesia is the gamelan ensemble. A gamelan ensemble has a wide variety of percussion instruments that you hit or play with your hands, gongs, and instruments that look similar to xylophones that are made with metal keys. Sometimes there are flutes, drums, voices singing, and other instruments playing in the ensemble.
Gamelan music is often said to sound hypnotic. When you listen, what does your brain think of? Try drawing a story with the music.
World Music Wednesday!
This week, we are adventuring to Trinidad to learn about Steel Pan bands in Trinidad. Steel pan drums are made from old oil drums. Drums are cut to different sizes and dents in the head of the drum are made to create different notes and pitches.
Here is a great video on how steel drums are made.
Hi my wonderful students! I am so excited to share information on this artist.
Ravi Shankar was born on April 7, 1920 and is one of the most well recognized and highly regarded classical musicians from India. His primary instrument was sitar and he also was a vocalist. He specialized as a Hindustani classical musician, which means in the style of the norther area of Northern India and the surrounding countries.
Shankar first toured Europe as a dancer at age 13 before returning to India to study music. In 1959, Shankar began touring as a musician. While in the United States, he befriended record producers and won a Grammy in 1969 for his music. Additionally, he performed at Woodstock, with a wide variety of artists that include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, and many other artist at that time.
By 1970, Shankar was teaching and guest lecturing at colleges around the world. He also collaborated with popular rock band The Beatles. Ravi Shankar helped spread the beauty of Indian music around the world, and his influence can still be heard today, almost 8 years since he has passed away.
The link below is a live recording of Ravi Shankar playing his sitar at Monterey Pop in 1967.
Happy World Music Wednesday everyone!
Our first example is from South Africa with the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. They are a globally renound vocal group that sings in the Mbube style.
The Mbube Style originated in South Africa by men who often worked heavy industrial jobs, such as in the coal mines in the 1920s. Eventually, these groups became more popular and started competing with each other more for glory than anything else. One of the most popular songs from the genre is "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".
I had the amazing experience of getting to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo a few years ago. The vocals are so powerful and the performance was truly moving.