Above: Fully levered Fullsicle from Harpsicle Harps
Perhaps you have always wanted to play the harp? That's the first line you read in Harpsicle harps website. They´re a division ReesHarps.com (specialized in concert harps)
Well I've always wanted!! It was a childhood dream to me... It always looked a bit out of reach and too expensive for me. Then of course you could find a cheap Pakistani harp or middle eastern import.. and they may look so pretty, even engraved.. but don't fool yourself, after asking the advice of my friends harp players that actually know what it's playable or not, they told me to run away from this harps that are only "ornaments" and that will most likely will bring only dissatisfaction after a little while with low quality levers and materials, something that instead of a bargain will end up in your attic or wall getting dust. Harpsicle though are made in Indiana in the United States with fine materials and craftsmanship. They can be purchased from a lot of specialized stores and harp centers worldwide.
Kabir is a crafter that have been developing the art of Shanti chimes for over two decades.
I have a previous model also crafted by Kabir that were known as "shanti" chimes that are now currently out of stock but were really popular. They were already lovely and heavenly sound. I have in particular the model "echoes of silence" and it delivers a moody eerie haunting combination of notes that I have featured in a few of my new songs.
He has become the major supplier of kanteles to North Americans in the last fifteen years. He builds traditional Finnish kanteles in a small shop in the woods a few miles north of Lake Superior near Duluth, Minnesota. He strives to build quality instruments that will bring joy to the players and listeners. He's not a factory - he approaches making the instruments as a craft and an art, not a "product". The goal of his work is to build instruments that he enjoys making and that a buyer will enjoy playing. Previous to making Finnish folk music instruments, Gerry was the editor of The Finnish American Reporter, a national publication for North Americans of Finnish descent about Finnish and Finnish American culture. He is currently the editor of New World Finn, a quarterly journal exploring Finnish culture (www.newworldfinn.com). Gerry has also been a woodworker for over thirty years - he was a builder and remodeler of homes, and a cabinetmaker. His love of Finnish culture and its music, and his woodworking skills have come together in the building of kanteles. planing the wood stringing the instrument In the winter of 1998, as a recipient of a Finlandia Foundation Grant, Gerry traveled within Finland and immersed himself in its "kantele culture". There he spent time with a master instrument maker, Rauno Nieminen, in Ikaalinen, Finland, and with other kantele builders in Veteli and Leppävirta. He also visited with players and teachers in order to better understand the needs of kantele musicians. As of 2009, over 1900 of his instruments are in the hands of musicians throughout the United States and Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe. His work has been exposed to the public in a short documentary produced by WDSE-TV of Duluth, Minnesota for their Venture North program (May 1996), other local television stations, Minnesota Public Radio, and in numerous newpaper and magazine articles. In 1997 he was named a Minnesota Folk Artist and again in 1999 he was cited by the Minnesota State Arts Board for "preserving the time-honored tradition of creating Finnish folk instruments". In 2008, he was named an honorary member of Finland's national Kantele Association. Gerry Luoma Henkel More endorsements of Gerry's kanteles "During the past two years I have ordered all the kanteles for my students at San Diego State University and the University of San Diego from Gerry. I have also chosen to use Gerry's kanteles in my performances because the sound of his instruments is excellent." - Merja Soria, graduate of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki Finland; instructor in music at San Diego University, and the University of San Diego; performer (vocals, accordians, kanteles) throughout the US and Finland. "I have examined Gerry's kanteles, and I have found them to be well-built, resonant and visually pleasing." - Oren Tikkanen, producer of award-winning (American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress) recordings of Finnish American music; writer about Finnish American music; and popular performer of traditional Finnish American and Finnish music. "I'm so impressed with what you have done, where you've taken your gifts and magic. I mean it - for you, as also do I, bring an American approach and interpretation to what we do. You have that liberal vision in how you see your instruments. And that is unique and ultra-hip." - Diane Jarvi, musician, songwriter and kantele player, in a letter to Gerry "To my knowledge, Henkel is the only professional kantele builder in North America. He specializes in the oldest form of the kantele, those carved from a single piece of wood. His carved kanteles are excellent." - Dr. Carl Rahkonen, Associate Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of Music, and author of The Kantele Traditions of Finland
You can visit Gerry Henkel website and store at KANTELE.COM
Oscar De Los Santos is a noted Artist, poet, inventor, and musician, as well as the youngest recognized Elder within the Six Nations Community and Medicine man. He is also the creator and author of The Warriors Roadway, and the founder of his own company called Tribal Thunder that makes handcrafted percussion, drums and wind instruments. From native american flutes to Indian Tabla there are a wealth of items to find your own rhythm, to enjoy, to spin, to play, to heal with it. he really does show the spiritual value of his craft.
Oscar is also the inventor of their popular Oscar Steel-tongue Drum, their own trademarked hank drum. I own an Oscar and I love it, my model has six notes but you can find models in different keys up to 8 notes. It has a lovely bell sound and very soothing and relaxing.
Above: the Oscar Drum, their most popular item in its standard and Slim model.
They make a collection of handcrafted drams, from djembe, to bodhrans and tabla. I'm going to highlight some of the ones I find more outstanding (and that I crave for LOL!)
I'll highlight the Ashiko Pony Drum: Named after the celtic Horse goddess Epona is a Tribal thunder special design, an hybrid drum mixing the qualities of the Ashiko and Djembe. The drums are built like the Ashiko (pine staves) but are somewhat shorter with larger heads (like a Djembe). The large head and small throat make for an incredibly powerful sound! The rings for this premium drum are leather wrapped and there are more ties for greater stability and balance in the head. Must be heard to be believed! I certainly would love to grab my hands around one!!
Above: the gorgeous Ashiko Pony drum
They also have smaller percussions and drums like this one:
Above: Small and portable dorskin drum (as all tribal thunder instruments) handcrafted
They also make other really interesting things... I have this lovely wind talk band... it sounds like Australian bull roarer but they´re very much more in control and you can even can change the pitch. All you have to do is to spin it and a storm-like roam will chant similar but different to the didgeridoo (which by the way they also sell)- It can make two harmonics depending on the angle used, I use it a lot to chant and meditate, shall upload a video using it as soon as possible.
And also flutes!
Be well Angel you are well Loved
Peace and Joy be with you!
Oscar de Los santos (aka. Oz)
Ron Ewing has built and played about 1700 dulcimers since 1970 to date and can offer his customers the benefit of considerable experience as both a craftsman and a musician.he does build fine, attractive instruments at reasonable prices, in a variety of styles, and use only solid domestic and imported woods, selected for their tonal quality, beauty, and compatibility. Ron studied engineering and English Lit in college before he got the bug to build and play upon hearing a recording of the wonderful Richard and Mimi Farina. he apprenticed with Chet Hines - a retired civilian engineer by trade, and a builder and player of some renown in his later years. He grew up in southern Ohio and learned the craft from his grandfather. After a couple of years he took over production and built about 200 dulcimers for Chet before heading off on his own to study guitar building and develop my own mix of the traditional and modern.
As a musician he has performed and taught throughout the country and is particularly known for his lively renditions of traditional Irish, Appalachian, and Euro dance tunes. He has guested on several recordings, including Jerry Rockwell's wonderful, "The Blackbird and the Beggarman." Most recently, I can be found playing the Irish slip jig "Drops of Brandy" with Jerry Rockwell and Leo Kretzner on "Dulcimer Celebrations" - a collection of live performances from Mountain Dulcimer Week at Western Carolina University.
Charlie Hind grew up on St. Simons Island, Georgia. He first began experimenting with making wind instruments in 1975 while a student at the University of South Carolina, where he later received a Master's degree in music education, with an emphasis in clarinet and viola. Over the years he has designed and built recorders, flutes, xylophones, panpipes, and since 1982, has concentrated on a wide variety of ocarinas, which he sells worldwide through his online store.
Since 1975 his constant experimentation with wood and sound has resulted in the creation of many new and unique musical instruments. In 1985, after designing and building a pipe organ, he was inspired to come up with a way to make the organ "play by itself." This led to years of intense study of all types of mechanical musical instruments, culminating in the building of two cylinder music boxes completely "from scratch," an accomplishment rarely attempted in the twentieth century.
Three years later, he created the unique Ocarina Celestina, a hand cranked organ that plays twenty of Charlie's trademarked walnut ocarinas automatically by reading perforated paper rolls similar to those used by a player piano. It is the result of over 1200 hours of work and is the only one of its kind in the world.
Today his work is divided between the making of his family of walnut ocarinas, continuing the development of his new wooden sweet potatoes, providing personal assistance to customers through email and phone, and maintaining his website Hind Ocarina
Above: Inline ocarina line (including Double Ocarina)
Above: Sweet potato Ocarina
Above: Ocarina cases to protect your most valuable items
I have a lovely double ocarina from Charlie Hind that we review in depth in this article about the Double Ocarina
Above: me performing a double ocarina manufactured by Hind Ocarina