The Kantele

The kantele is a plucked psaltery from Finland. The kantele and its cousins – the Latvian kokle, Lithuanian kanklės, Estonian kannel and Russian gusli – are known as Baltic psalteries. I play the diatonic folk kantele. Most folk kanteles range from 5-11 strings, but mine is a large 19 string kantele. The additional bass stringsContinue reading “The Kantele”

The Ichigenkin

The ichigenkin is a single-stringed zither from Japan. Its silk string is plucked by a tubular plectrum on the right hand index finger, while a slide on the left hand middle finger depresses the string at the desired pitch. The slide and plectrum are collectively known as rokan. The ichigenkin was popular during the 17thContinue reading “The Ichigenkin”

The Celtic Harp

  I was at a festival in 1993 when I first heard Robin Williamson play the Celtic harp. I knew straightaway that was what I wanted to do. Still, it took over a year of obsessing about harps before I finally got my hands on a small, knocked about one. By 1995 I had grownContinue reading “The Celtic Harp”

The Native American Flute

This native American style flute in western red cedar with a stylised bear claw block was made for me by David Cartwright of Second Voice Flutes. I often play it during a sound healing session. It song is evocative, mellow and soothing for the listener. The origins of the native American flute are lost inContinue reading “The Native American Flute”

The Hitzaz Flute

This is my hitzaz tuned flute, made for me by David Cartwright of Second Voice Flutes. It is in spalted ash in the key of E, with an Arabian stallion carved block. The hitzaz/hijaz scale is common in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Jewish music and the hitzaz flute is intended to evoke the plaintive soundingContinue reading “The Hitzaz Flute”

The Conch

Of all the many different conch shell trumpets, the one I use the most is the syrinx. Its original owner, a syrinx aruanus sea snail, came from the largest snail species in the world and would have spent its days in the ocean somewhere between Northern Australia and Indonesia. Gong Master, Don Conreaux, believes thatContinue reading “The Conch”