T HE final encounter with the hurdy-gurdy
player, in his simplicity and tenderness, and perhaps above all in his devotion to a music stripped of heroism, seems instead to signal the necessity of giving up the Wanderer's romantic idealizations, his expectation of love carved into the bark of the linden of popular memory, and even his desire to die a victim of his suffering.
There are numerous distinctive instrumental traditions, from the virtuoso styles of bagpiping, hurdy-gurdy
and fiddle playing found in the Auvergne and neighbouring regions to, for example, the survival in Provence, the Gironde, and the Pyrenees-Atlantiques of performances by combinations of three-hole pipes and percussion.
sounds Soften the glow of streetlamps In the evening dusk.
Hazar Bassem, 20, is wearing a denim skirt and high-heeled court shoes as she practices patiently on the hurdy-gurdy
, or wheel fiddle.
ANSWERS: 1 Jose Maria Olazabal; 2 Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service; 3 Qatar; 4 Hurdy-gurdy
; 5 The name of an island on which 15 men had been marooned; 6 Goya; 7 Penguins; 8 George V; 9 Saturn; 10 Graceland.
Of especial interest is Le Vent du Nord's inclusion of the traditional French hurdy-gurdy
, a stringed instrument with a rotating wheel that acts a constant bow, known for being notoriously difficult to properly tune.
That background, combined with wife Regine Chassagne's classical training in mandolin and jazz, plus a handful of other bandmates playing everything from a hurdy-gurdy
to a motorcycle helmet, results in Neon Bible, a rumbling cacophony of mournful ballads and pounding anthems.
Think Robyn Hitchcock backed by a theremin and a hurdy-gurdy
and you'll get the idea.
The Peasant Wedding uses a hurdy-gurdy
, a bagpipe, and various vocal yelps from the musicians to recreate a riotous wedding scene.
"If you went into the other room you'd see a whole shelf of wacky instruments: a hurdy-gurdy
, various hammer dulcimers, train whistles, ocarinas, music boxes, antique crank toys that make musical sounds....
As Schmidt tells it, "The ball got rolling when we accompanied some friends to an auction at Sotheby's of antique instruments, which is where we contracted that weird sort of collection fever." The pair "sprung for the irresistibly named 'fairy bells,' which are actually psalteries," rudimentary instruments consisting of strings tied to a box, and this in turn led them to "this folky nook in San Francisco called Lark in the Morning." There they acquired a pristine remake of a medieval hurdy-gurdy
, which was followed by an Autoharp.
She ends up as a street singer, playing her hurdy-gurdy
. It is in the streets that she meets her first real friends, the poor and the humiliated.