Musical Vegetables

Dan This Land of Ours, Vegetables

musicalMany people know that playing a musical instrument has so many benefits and can bring joy to you and everyone around you. Cathy Isom fills us in on how we can make beautiful music with food. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Musical Vegetables

From: Modern Farmer Magazine

Need a New Hobby? We Recommend Playing Musical Vegetables

Over the past two decades, classical music has moved in increasingly avant-garde directions. Perhaps none, though, is more applicable to our interests than the use of produce as instruments.

Vegetables have a few qualities that make them ideal for instruments. They’re cheap, readily available, many (especially root vegetables like carrots and turnips) can be easily carved and whittled, and the vision of someone blowing into a carved stick of celery with his nostrils will never not be fun. They do, of course, not last nearly as long as, say, the hardwood from which a clarinet is usually fashioned, which means vegetable musicians have to continually create new instruments. But nothing’s perfect, right?

There’s an entire group based out of Vienna, calling itself the Vegetable Orchestra, that’s been together for more than 15 years. They construct instruments out of leeks, cabbages, turnips, carrots, and even onion skins, and perform all over the world. Check them out:

The Vegetable Orchestra performs with instruments made from fresh vegetables, which must be built anew for each concert and each rehearsal. The use of various vegetable instruments which are constantly being refined creates a musically and aesthetically unique universe of sound, which cannot be achieved with traditional instruments.

The Vegetable Orchestra was founded in Vienna in the year 1998 and has played more than 200 concerts at very different venues (concert halls, greenhouses, mountain huts, clubs, ships, and festivals for classical, electronic, improvised and world music).

In artistic, aesthetic and infrastructural decisions of importance all twelve members of the ensemble have their equal vote. The collective is a mix of people with different artistic backgrounds. Musicians, visual artists, architects, designers, media artists, writers and sound-poets all come together here.
The continued exploration and refinement of performable vegetable music is the central objective, the focus of the orchestra’s innovative quest. Each individual (and their particular creative approach) is of vital importance in sustaining the fundamental artistic objective of the Vegetable Orchestra — the artistic autonomy of this unique ensemble.

There are no musical boundaries for the Vegetable Orchestra. The most diverse music styles fuse here — contemporary music, beat-oriented House tracks, experimental Electronic, Free Jazz, Noise, Dub, Clicks’n’Cuts – the musical scope of the project expands never-endingly, and recently-developed vegetable instruments and their inherent sounds often determine the stylistic direction.

A concert of The Vegetable Orchestra appeals to all the senses. Vegetable-visuals and live video projections provide fascinating images and after a short time a wonderful smell of vegetables is in the air. As an encore, at the end of the concert and video performance, the audience is offered fresh vegetable soup.

Linsey Pollack has a slightly different method, using prefabricated parts designed for more traditional instruments and attaching them to quickly carved bodies made from vegetables. Here he is playing a carved carrot with a clarinet mouthpiece attached.

Linsey Pollak turns a carrot into a clarinet using an electic drill a carrot and a saxophone mouthpiece, and plays it all in a matter of 5 minutes.

Linsey Pollak is an Australian musician, instrument maker, composer, musical director and community music facilitator. He has recorded 31 albums, toured his solo shows extensively in Europe, Nth America and Asia as well as performing at most major festivals around Australia.

Linsey has devised many large Festival pieces such as “BimBamBoo” and “Sound Forest”, as well as collaborating on many music and theatre projects around Australia. He established The Multicultural Arts Centre of WA, and has co-ordinated five Cross-cultural Music Ensembles in three different States. Linsey has also worked as a musical instrument maker for 40 years and has designed a number of new wind instruments as well as specialising in woodwind instruments from Eastern Europe.

This all makes us look at our food a little bit differently!

Read the full article and hear performances with other vegetable instruments.