Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Anklungs: I'll Bet You'll Want Your Own

Several weeks ago Christina from Gandharva Loka World Music Instruments in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) read about our "Sound Garden," (and its evolution) and asked me if we could use some "highly tuned bamboo anklungs." She explained that she is involved in creating full-fledged healing "sound gardens" using gongs and singing bowls and was moved to contribute something to our own efforts.

The original sound garden to which she referred didn't physically survive our relocation to the Center of the Universe, although its spirit traveled with us, emerging organically over the past several months in a corner of our outdoor classroom that includes our new drum set, a marimba, the thunder drum, and a collection of lids from old pots and pans.

There was a time when we had a number of actual drum sticks available to the kids, but as those disappeared (probably into the depths of the sand pit) we've found that not only do regular old sticks work just as well for activating a percussive instrument, but each one brings out a unique sound from the object that's struck.

But, you know, first I had to find out what anklungs actually are. According to the Gandharva (which means "the abode of the celestial musicians" in Bengalese) website the anklung is a traditional Indonesian instrument, made from tuned bamboo tubes hung in a frame and which is played by shaking the instrument horizontally. Christina's idea was that we might want to disassemble them and use the tubes, and it's possible that this might be their destiny, but I've become fascinated with their potential as completely assembled instruments.

As I did some of my own research, I discovered that it is an ancient instrument that has been adapted to all kinds of music, from classical to hip hop. School children often play them in groups like we do with a bell choir, each child responsible for a single note. More accomplished musicians play them in concerts, standing or sitting in front of huge racks of anklungs hung by octaves. Here is an impressive example:

I'll admit when our anklungs arrived I was a bit confused by them. They don't look like any instrument that I've ever seen and I at first searched through the bag for something with which to strike them, but it didn't take long to figure out the shaking technique, which was only a short step away from figuring out that these were going to be wonderful preschool instruments -- sturdy, easy to play, with wonderful tones.

I hung the 3 larger anklungs on the rack, leaving the smaller two on the ground for the
children to handle and examine.

Inspired by the video, I wanted to introduce at least some of the anklungs hanging together from a rack, which I created from the saw horse legs of our milking cow and a short length of 2X4. Pretty cool looking and a nice addition to our sound garden.

I want to thank Christina and Gandharva Loka from the bottom of my heart for this unexpected gift, not only of music, but also of knowledge and inspiration. What fun we will have with them.

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Carrie said...

You hit it on the nose. I'm envious!!! Have you done a post that shows how you store all of the wonderful things you have while they're not in use? I'd be interested.

Hollister UK said...

Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up

Unknown said...

This looks like a lot of fun!