This talented group, consisting of musicians, artists, writers, sound engineers, and other creative types, has come up with a truly unique form of expression. Using instruments made from — you guessed it, vegetables, the Vegetable Orchestra plays a range of music, from jazz to contemporary to electronica.
The band was founded in 1998, and they’ve had plenty of time to refine their art. Their instruments, made from scratch just one hour before each performance, run the gamut from onion skins mimicking the sound of rain, to squash acting as large drums, to cucumbers and carrots providing melody with flute-like tones.
The best part? Nothing goes to waste — after each performance, the audience is treated to fresh vegetable soup, created from the 90 lbs. of leftovers.
Nestled into the Luray Caverns in Virginia is a unique instrument that creates lovely music from the surrounding rock: the Stalacpipe Organ.
The Luray Caverns were well known for their musicality almost since the day they were discovered. By the ’50s, using mallets to play hymns and other well-known songs had become part of the regular tour. In 1954, a man named Leland W. Sprinkle took his son on one of these tours, and became fascinated with the music played on the formation.
He devised the Stalacpipe Organ, and built it over a three-year period beginning in 1956. First, he found appropriate stalactites and shaved them to produce specific tones when struck. Then he wired mallets to each one, activated by pressing keys on an organ console. This unique instrument spreads over 3.5 acres through the caverns, and can be heard throughout the entire 64-acre underground space.
The Stalacpipe Organ has a lovely, ethereal quality, and has been recorded by various musicians over the years – most recently in 2011 by a Finnish/Swedish music collective (after extensive repairs to fix corrosion caused by the caverns’ high humidity).
And there you have it: Music from nature.
Do you know of an unusual instrument you’d like to see showcased on the Band Geek blog? Drop me a line using the email link in the sidebar, or leave a comment!
Invented by Allan Gittler in the 1970s, the Gittler guitar is definitely a showstopper. Convinced that guitars had too much unnecessary fluff and would be more functional pared down to only their essential components, Gittler created an instrument unique in both form and function.
Essentially just a guitar neck with tuners and electronics at one end and a simple headstock with string locks at the other, and weighing in at just four pounds, the Gittler is the ideal instrument for a guitarist on the go. It’ll also turn heads – imagine passing a busker playing one of these odd-looking things!
And, lest you think the Gittler can’t produce a full sound without that cumbersome wooden body, here’s a demonstration:
There you have it: the Gittler guitar. Not a beginner’s instrument, but a fascinating one, and a sure conversation starter for your next family sing-along!