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Musical Instruments

Flute Camp Aotearoa – January 2014

Journeying with the Native American Style Flute

Flute Camp AotearoaA series of Native American flute workshops is being organised by flute maker Todd Chaplin of Southern Cross Flutes this coming January in Wellington. This from Todd’s website:

Join us for an amazing long weekend (Jan 17–20th 2014) of flute playing workshops centered on music-making with the Native American Flute. This retreat designed for players of any amount of experience who want to raise their playing and enjoyment of the instrument to a new level. Facilitated by two wonderful players of the Native American Indian Style Flute, from the U.S.A – Clint Goss and Vera Shanov.     Read more »

Native Amercan flutes are probably the easiest type of flute to play and they produce a beautiful organic tone that is very satisfying. For those who might be interested in attending these workshops but lack a flute, Gandharva Loka stocks two ranges of good quality and relatively inexpensive Native American flutes. One range is by Todd Chaplin of Wellington and the other is by Odell Borg of High Spirits Flutes in Arizona, USA. Both of these respected flute makers craft their instruments from a variety of woods and in a variety of sizes and pitches.

Please feel free to contact us or come into Gandharva Loka if you are interested in trying or hearing these beautiful flutes.

 

Mohamed Bangoura and Doug Brush at Gandharva Loka

Mohamed Bangoura and Doug Brush at Gandharva LokaIn June our good friend Doug Brush bought touring master drummer and teacher in traditional Guinean music Mohamed Bangoura to visit Gandharva Loka.

As is the case when musicians are surrounded by instruments, Doug and Mohamed tried a few of the djembes that are on offer at Gandharva Loka and settled in for a little session of drumming. Fortunately we had a camera nearby and some of that session can be seen here: Mohamed Bangoura and Doug Brush at Gandharva Loka – June 2012.

It was really nice to meet Mohamed who, as can be seen in the video, exudes joy and enthusiasm.

Gandharva Loka Christchurch to re-open on December 6!

We are delighted to announce that Gandharva Loka in Christchurch will be re-opening at 11am on Tuesday the 6th of December!

Our new location is:
363 St Asaph Street,
(Between Fitzgerald Ave and Barbadoes St
Christchurch.

We have a lovely space that is accessed from the St Asaph Street entrance of The Lotus-Heart restaurant, tea house and health food store – a new location for the popular vegetarian restaurant that is also home to The Gift Shop. At present a new facade is being installed so the building is shrouded in scaffolding. But prepare to be amazed when you step inside – the interior is enchanting!

We now have in stock the best range of instruments we have ever had and we are expecting that more instruments will be arriving in the next few days.

Our hours are:
Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-3pm.
Friday evening 5pm-8pm.
We are happy to accommodate customers outside these hours by appointment if our regular store hours do not suit.

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Cultural Biodiversity: finding a sense of place

This article was written by Brendyn Montgomery in 2004 for the quarterly Flute Focus magazine (now an online publication) and is reproduced here with the permission of Flute Focus and Brendyn Montgomery.

Cultural Biodiversity: finding a sense of place

I sometimes wonder what led me to this place. I am an Irish flute player with a BSc in Zoology and an M.A. in traditional Irish music performance (1st class honours) and I have lived in Ireland. Yet I am a New Zealander. Brendyn MontgomeryI was born here, my parents were born here, and in fact, five generations of my relatives proceed me in this land…

My music does not come directly from my extended family as a neatly handed-down package as it so often does in Ireland. Irish has such a strong oral tradition in its homeland, where people live and breathe the music everyday. I live in a country where the society has evolved hugely from the societies that my ancestors left. The demise of the family unit and the freedom to choose your own path that has been slower to change in Ireland and Scotland, the countries of my ancestry. I am not against this change by any means; it simply means that many of the threads of the oral tradition have been broken.

Yet I am certain that the immigrants brought their music with them. My mother’s mother talks of how they played for dances from an early age, tunes that were handed down from the wider family. But that was lost as the family moved away to different parts of the country. I was bought up with both recorded and live music and was dragged to folk festivals from the age of six weeks. It is something I have grown to appreciate with time. This was not family music, but folk music of the 1970s and 1980s, influenced by technology and recordings from other parts of the world.

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The Wooden Flute In New Zealand

This article was written by Pat Higgins in 2004 for the quarterly Flute Focus magazine (now an online publication) and is reproduced here with the permission of Flute Focus and Pat Higgins.

The Wooden Flute in New Zealand

Pat Higgins playing a nineteenth century Rudall & Carte fluteThe simple-system wooden flute has been relatively rare in New Zealand; and in comparison to the Boehm instrument, it still is unusual. However, in recent years we have seen a steady growth in interest in this instrument. It used to be that people would say, “but that’s not a flute… ” on seeing a wooden instrument, obviously expecting the Boehm instrument familiar to thousands from school music classes. The increase in numbers of people becoming interested in and playing this instrument has come about as people became exposed to the sound of the wooden flute as part of the enormous world-wide surge in interest in Irish culture over the last ten years or so. (Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Guinness Tours of New Zealand, etc…)

The wooden simple system flute [also known as Irish flutes] is used almost exclusively for Irish traditional music, (though there may be professional musicians using it for classical performance, as is the case overseas). The author is aware of one musician in Wellington, Barnard Wells, who uses the simple system flute for playing Cuban and Latin music in a band situation. In nineteenth century Ireland, traditional music survived amongst the poor and impoverished; the classical music of the drawing room being the preserve of the rich. In 1831 Theobald Boehm invented his metal flute and sometime after, the wooden instruments it replaced gradually became un-fashionable; thus becoming affordable or at least more available to ‘folk-musicians’. It is not known (at least to the author) when exactly this occurred, but the transition must have been slow as classical musicians would have had to re-learn a whole new fingering system. In any case Irish traditional music formally played on pipes, fiddle and whistle could now also be played on the simple system eight-key wooden flute.

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Spontaneous World Music

Sitar, balafon and caxixiSome friends of ours, members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Europe, were gathered together for a weekend of meditation and joy a few years ago. Many of them are accomplished musicians and singers and during the weekend there were many performances of Sri Chinmoy‘s music as well as a number of spontaneous performances.

The piece of music below is a recording of one of those spontaneous moments and it features two musicians, Kanala Auer (an art teacher and sitarist from Austria) and Alap Jetzer (a very talented multi-instrumentalist and instrument maker from Switzerland). Both have been Sri Chinmoy’s meditation students for many years. Kanala is playing a sitar and Alap is playing a balafon with caxixi attached to the strikers. So the mix is an Austrian musician playing an Indian instrument and a Swiss musician playing African instruments – I think we can call that world music!

Please enjoy the spontaneity of our friends Kanala and Alap…


Related

Guzheng Arrives at Gandharva Loka

Gandharva Loka today received delivery of a full size Guzheng – a Chinese stringed instrument that is synonymous with the traditional music of China.

The Guzheng is a traditional Chinese instrument – a plucked zither with movable bridges that typically has 21 strings. Guzheng are commonly about 1.6 metres in length. The guzheng is the modern westernised descendant of an ancient traditional Chinese musical instrument which was the ancestor of the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum, and the Vietnamese đàn tranh. The parent instrument of the guzheng was known as the se. Read more »

The 21 string Guhzeng that we now have at Gandharva Loka is very similar to the one featured below and comes with the 21 movable bridges (and a diagram showing where to position them), two stands, a set of finger picks, a tuning key and a carry bag.

Guzheng

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