Some days ago I have discovered a video with Gasper Nali and his huge one string guitar Babatoni.
Gasper Nali is a musician from Malawi, he has built a huge one stringed kind of guitar and uses this instrument to accompany his songs. He also uses a selfmade foot drum as a percussion instrument.
Gasper Nali shows his Babatoni in the following video.
The instrument is made from a kind of big drum, a long board, a long wire used as a string and a tuner. The instrument is played with a stick in the right hand and a bottle in the left hand. The bottle is used to shorten the string. Gasper Nali has painted big colored numbers to the neck of his instrument to mark the positions for the different tones. Before he plays the Babatoni he uses a fire to heat the drumhead of his instrument, so it sounds better. The bridge is positioned on the drumhead.
It is fascinating which sounds this simple homemade instrument can produce. Together with the footdrum Gasper Nali can play a great accompaniment for his songs.
Playlist Gasper Nali
Gasper Nali has produced to albums which are available at bandcamp:
The Gusli (-> Wikipedia) is an old Russian stringed instrument, a kind of a zither. The gusli is used in folk music, but can also be used for classical music.
The gusli is usually played with the right hand while the left hand mutes to strings that should not sound. This can be used for harp-like arpeggios. It is also possible that the left hand plays accompanying chords while the right hand plays the melody. The right hand can also play the strings with a tremolo.
My first example is a Lullaby played by Olga Shishkina, she has studied in Russia and lives in Helsinki today.
Gusli: Lullaby by Shakhanov
Performance at St. Maria’s Church in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Another professional player of the gusili is Pavel Lukoyanov
Pavel Lukoyanov professional gusli-musician. Pavel was born in 1982 in Moscow. In 2002 has finished the Second Moscow Regional Musical College named S.Prokofiev (professor, merited artist of Russia Fediration Lubov Zhuks class). In 2007 has finished the Gnesins Academy of Music folk instrument department now. (L. Zhuk’s class).
You can find many solo pieces for the gusli in his youtube channel. This is his performance of Legend for gusli:
I have recently discovered the domra and guitar duet 9 String Theory from Atlanta, USA. They have just gievn an interview to present their next concert. It is available on the website of WABE
9 String Theory is not just a catchy name but also a straightforward calculation. It’s a musical duo featuring Angelina Galashenkova on the domra, which has three strings, and John Huston on classical guitar, which has six strings.
Playlist 9 String Theory – Domra and Classical Guitar
The guembri is a 3-stringed plucked instrument which is beeing played by the Gnawa people in Morocco and North-Africa. The playing technique is similar to the clawhammer style used with the American banjo. One of the 3 strings of the guembri is shorter and is used as a drone – this is another similarity to the American banjo.
The lower string is plucked with the thumb, the higher strings are plucked with the finger nail of the middle and index finger. The guembri is at the same time used like a drum, by hitting the leather-head of the instrument with the right hand. Very often little bells or metal rings are attached to the instrument to produce additional sound effects.
At the end of the playlist you can find some instructional videos for playing the guembri.
The sintir (Arabic: سنتير), also known as the Guembri (Arabic: الكمبري), Gimbri or Hejhouj, is a three stringed skin-covered bass plucked lute used by the Gnawa people. It is approximately the size of a guitar, with a body carved from a log and covered on the playing side with camel skin. The camel skin has the same acoustic function as the membrane on a banjo. The neck is a simple stick with one short and two long goat strings that produce a percussive sound similar to a pizzicato cello or double bass.