A blog about the Jaw harp.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Boinging through hard times

J-harp, patented March 28, 1934, Inventor DeKeller, Stamey.

Massachusetts resident Bill Zucker was getting depressed hearing and reading about the financial bad news out there so he picked up his guitar and in five minutes wrote "The Tarp Song." (TARP is the acronym for the Troubled Assets Relief Program.) TARP, jaw harp... Coincidence? I don't think so. It might explain the hot jaw harp boingings in the song. So here it is, Bill's gift to us, a new song for these hard times. Quote Bill Zucker: "I wanted a simple song about a complicated situation that everyone would get. I was trying to find a way to make people laugh in these dismal economic times." Boing on, Mister Zucker! I'll be foot stompin' thinking about better days to come along with you.

Catchy and uplifting song, isn't it?

Next, jaw harp music from Russia.

I recently got a message from Aksentiy in Moscow, Russia. He was letting me know about a new CD he has released called Jaw Harp Speech. This is a great CD really worth multiple listens. The actual title is great: The Tale of How the Bird of Falling Stars Helped the Hunter to Get the Tusk of the Walrus Shapeshifter. Reading the description reminded me of a book I read recently. It's called The Way We Lived: California Indian Stories, Songs and Reminiscencess by Malcolm Margolin. There is an uncanny similarity of myths, legends and tales that just confirms my belief that we are all connected. From my research, the Native People of North America didn't know bout jaw harps until Europeans came but they had an uncanny kinship and ability to play them.

Staying in the U.S., coming up is the 200th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

Singer-songwriter Chris Vallillo is on tour paying a tribute to this great American president. When Lincoln was a lawyer on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit, he was part of a group of 25 lawyers and one judge who traveled the 400-mile circuit on horseback. At their stops along the way, they performed music together. Among his repertoire of well researched tunes and songs, Vallillo plays Hoosen Johnny on a jaw harp. Check it out and if you like Old Time, spend the few bucks to buy this great CD. Heck, I'd skip a meal just to buy it.

Up until now, one music genre that has been underrepresented using the jaw harp is Reggae/Dub. This has been rectified by Natty Matty who gives us his tune Mash up Dub. Right on, Natty Matty!

Also, I want to bring to your attention a new link I've added to Veskimo 's Journal. His blog is in Russian but there's an acceptable translation, courtesy of Little Big Brother, aka Google. Click on the link at the top on the right below Events and check it out.

Animal Collective is a music collective of avant-garde musicians originally from Baltimore, Maryland. This band is often classified as psych folk or noise rock but they have just released their ninth album that just doesn't fit any label. Here's a vid of ther song Lion in a Coma which makes good use of the jaw harp. True, it's a sample but somebody played the loop and it's wonderfully trippy.

On the subject of music, jaw harps, human social structures and other living creatures, Tribal Flora is a band from Mumbai, India. Check out this vid:

While you're at it, check out their version of Johnny Cash's song I've Been Everywhere.

Last but not least, our man in the UK, Jonny McBoingBoing has uploaded some instructional videos to help newcomers play the jaw harp. Do check him out, he's a great player, a nice person and kind enough to share his knowledge.

That's it for this time. As always, let me know if you want me to post something you would like to share. Take care, eat more vegetables, spend more time with your friends and family, and keep playing your jaw harps. Guaranteed to keep hard time blues away.