Ever see one of those things that makes you just never want to bother trying to do something ever again?



Note that the dude is accompanying himself with a tambourine and another drum, played with his feet,, in a setup of his own devising, and doing a really odd combination of rhythms to boot. Damn. Some people are just intimidatingly impressive. Favorite quote from their bio: "Liron learned how to throat sing from his friend Nezih, who figured out how to do it himself while he was on mushrooms.".

Also, they used to be a married couple. They broke up, but the band didn't. That there's some dedication, for serious.
So, my brother grew this zucchini in his garden...



It was pretty darn big.

I was fidgeting with it and realized that because it is thicker on one end, it actually produces distinct sounds on each end if you strike it like a drum, and it was big enough to actually have a pretty nice resonance. I began to first absent-mindedly, and then more thoughtfully, tap-tap-tap upon it.

I became... fascinated.

Family members commented. It was suggested that I had spent more time with the zucchini than with my infant neice. This was of course a scandalous lie, and yet it is true that the sounds of this oblong green bongo were developing for me a strange allure. While the family was all gathered in the living room chatting, I tried and failed to be discreet in gathering up the zucchini and my backpack, in which I carry my recording equipment, and wordlessly, perhaps worryingly, disappeared into the bathroom for about ten minutes.

Fortunately my family is far too polite to comment upon, let alone inquire after, such things. Then again, perhaps having left what I was doing in there up to peoples' imaginations was not the best plan. In any case, I digress.

Having not-so-secreted myself away, I sat down, broke out the recording gear and started banging away. The results are better than I'd expected, so without further ado, I give you...

ZUCCHINI DRUM! (initial field recordings)

(after showing him this, my friend Victor introduced me to The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. Perhaps I've found my calling...)
(originally posted at about 4:30am last night, but had it filtered so no one could see it. post-dating it to now)

Today I...

* Went to my first rehearsal for the mini-opera that is being staged at the Ig Nobel prizes, in which I am in the ensemble, playing a singing bacterium (no, really!).

* ...where the lead soprano, a professional whose next gig is going to Florida to play Madame Butterfly, complimented me on my voice and offered to get together with me to work on my opera repertoire.

* Went to the Somerville Fluffer Festival (like a smaller ArtBeat with more candy) where I ran into more friends and zomgsomanyawesomedoggiesIpettedthemall!!!

* Went to the release party for my friend Stever's new book! I'd never seen him speak before, and the guy is good! I can't wait for his one-man musical version of the book (I'm totally not kidding).

* Went to a magical-as-always Jason Webley show

* ...where at one point he picked me as a volunteer to play drums for one of his songs! It was just a schticky audience participation thing, playing a simple beat while two other people played one note repeatedly on the piano and he sang and played accordion, but when it was done he was convinced enough that I actually knew what I was doing that he asked me to stay on stage and accompany him and the Violist from The Army of Broken Toys (another favorite live band of mine) on 11 Saints! This was huge for me on so many levels. I've been saying to myself more and more lately that I reeeally want to get some equipment and start playing kit again, and that I would dearly love to play drums on stage again... and then not only do I do all that (well, I didn't get to keep the kit), but I got to do it with one of my favorite musicians! Also, I am told that I did not suck! Woo!

* After the show a bunch of us went out to dinner, which involved me giving Webley a ride there, and afterward to the party he was going to next. In addition to it being nice to chat with him and a bunch of the other swell folks who were at the show, when we got to the party he invited [livejournal.com profile] fontia and I along. The thing looked pretty classy-- lots of older people dressed very nicely, so it was a bit intimidating, but we decided "heck, it's an adventure" and dove in anyway. Turns out it was indeed a full on artsy "society" sort of deal, the kind of thing we thought only existed in movies. It was a birthday for a local software entrepreneur turned hotshot photographer, held at his "studio", which is actually a giant converted mill full of funky little sculptures, big, artsy photos he's done of The Dresden Dolls and the like (apparently we'd just missed AFP and her entourage), and lots of Very Impressive Looking People.

* ...and yet, the highlight of the whole thing for me was a drum I found. The host had a bunch of hand drums in one of the main rooms, and I found a reeeeally nifty mid-sized goblet drum kind that, instead of having a skin or synthetic head, had a head was made of solid wood. This made for a gorgeous mellow sound and a broad range of sounds, because you have all the normal drum sounds you can make by striking it hard enough to resonate, plus many different sounds you can make by tapping more lightly. Really fun! The host even invited me to join them the next time they have a drumming event.


So yeah, a pretty darn good day. Years ago now I decided that I was going to make "why not?" my new motto. I've had varying degrees of success at living that motto, or even remembering it at times, but lately I've been having pretty good luck with it, finding little adventures like that party and saying yes to them.

Here's to more little adventures! Now if I can only figure out how to fit sleep in with all this awesome, I'm set. *yaaaawn*



Edit: after some research, I found out that the drum I found is called a "djembe cajon" (beware auto-playing music), which is basically the djembe version of a south american drum called a cajon, which means "crate". It's a fascinating instrument, as it is the evolution of slaves literally banging on old crates to make music, but it's been cleverly modified to have rattles along the top edge to provide distinct bass and snare sounds. Apparently the cajon is a staple in a lot of south american music, but I'd never heard of it. So now I find myself wanting, in addition to a kit, both the djembe cajon and a regular cajon. Am I developing a drum problem? Right now, the only thing keeping me from buying one, other than not wanting to spend all my money and/or drown in Stuff, is the fact that just watching dudes like this makes my fingers hurt (from what I've seen this guy's technique seems unusual, but still-- damn impressive).

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