Friday, January 06, 2006


There are millions of great guitar and piano players in the world, but, quick, name a great jew's harp player. The jew's harp? That thing you stick in your mouth, pluck, and go boing boing boing? With the vaguely anti-Semetic name? The same! Meet Tran Quang Hai (also spelled Tran Hai Quang), Vietnamese-born music professor, folklorist, and jew's harp hero. (Hey, if there can be guitar heroes...)

His album
"Jew's Harps of the World" does indeed survey various international jew's harp styles, though it mainly features those of Vietnam. Perhaps not melodic in the traditional sense, jew's harps are nonetheless capable of producing surprisingly diverse sounds and rhythms, sometimes suggesting electronic effects like distortion, wah-wah, and phase-shifting, though, of course, it's all acoustic.

Tran Quang Hai -
"Souvenir A Alexeiev Et Chichiguine"

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