Shepherd Flutes Of Slovakia

In centuries recently past, but not before men’s memory, deeply haunting and evocative calls echoed over valleys between adjacent hills, under the wing of night in the rural countryside of central Slovakia. The shepherds who loosed these sounds, it is told, communicated observations about wolves numbers and directions to others of their trade. Sometimes five kilometers their informative melodies would traverse. And an art form grew from this, the shepherd musicians soothing one another and flocks alike in the loneliness of the dark central European nights. Whether this legend was ‘true’ no long mattered to me when first I came across it; I knew I had to go there.

[ 3 fujarists under a crystal sky ; Details of traditional fujara decorative carvings ; Young musician integrating an alto fujara into her performance art ; Dushan Holik, selling his musical wares ]

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Rumanikos Duet

This 3-minute musical snippet is an improvisation from about eight years ago. Entirely spur-of-the-moment, in the living room, and thus the recording is absolutely low tech. Two musicians, both amateurs. Mon amie is playing a hang, a Swiss innovation, which uses the sides and tips of the fingers to sound resonating metallic ringing tones. I’m playing a digital keyboard which had been set to emulate a zither. What unites these two instruments, an uncommon duo, is the scale they are tuned to. More on that after having a listen…

(Listen to hang/zither duet)

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