Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Semsemia, Anklung, and Gopichand

I collect, own, and play a number of musical instruments, whether electronic, electric, or acoustic.  I used a variety of acoustic instruments on my "Acoustic Selections" album.  There are a couple reviews of the album that claim that I used homemade instruments and names like semsemia, anklung, and gopichand must be made up names.  Although these words are unfamiliar to most of the western world, these are real names for instruments and not made up words.  Any of these instruments can be searched for and numerous images can be found.
The Egyptian semsemia that I have is very much out of tune and I use it more for a percussion dissonance than any type of melodic track (unless I play a single string with a glass slide).  I leave it out of tune because when I first got it, I took all the strings off and all the pegs out (I can't remember the reason that I did this, but I am sure there was one), then I must have put pegs back into the wrong slots because ever since then, some of the pegs do not grab.  I even tried the old violinist trick of using chalk to cause more friction between the peg and the hole.  No luck.  I need to just take it apart again and find the best hole for each peg.
Both the semsemia and anklung have a prominent place in the acoustic version of the song "Winter".   They can distinctly be heard on that track. 
Though I own an authentic gopichand, the one that I used and recorded with was homemade out of a metal can, wood, and a guitar string.  I authentic one uses traditional animal skin rather than the bottom of a can, but the concept and method of playing remain the same.

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