Saturday, 3 November 2012

...and speaking of Indian instruments, Pete List plays the shahi baaja It's not a guitar but it is a fretted, stringed instrument of sorts. Sometimes referred to as the "Indian Banjo", the shahi baaja is like some weird amalgam of guitar, sitar and typewriter! That description makes it sound like some eccentric cobbled-together Heath Robinson contraption, but it does sound amazing, especially in the capable hands of someone like the above Pete List.

Thanks to David in Barcelona for bringing this video to my attention.

G L Wilson

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  1. The acoustic version of that instrument is known as the "bulbul tarang", which is Hindi for "waves of nightingales". In India it is also known as the "benjo" (sic) or, bizarrely, "Japanese banjo", since it was invented in Japan, where it is called "taishogoto". Japanese models almost always have typewriter-style keys, but Indian ones often have piano-style keys, sometimes in "clown vomit" multi-coloured plastic or colourful pearloid.

  2. Anonymous12:14 pm

    Makes me think of a strummed Hurdy Gurdy!

  3. Also played by Mick Flower (Vibracathedral Orchestra) in his duo with Chris Corsano.

    1. I saw Vibracathedral Orchestra a few years ago as part of Julian Cope's "Rome Wasn't Burned in a Day" festival. To begin with the improvised performance was chaotic with each member seemingly doing their own thing, oblivious to the others, and then they sort of got into a groove and it turned into something quite glorious.



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