Wacky side up

Date / Time
Monday, December 20, 2010
Press Name
Sunday Pioneer, New Delhi
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Israeli musician-singer Tal Kravitz created music from a matchbox and played a flute through his nose. -By Divya Kapoor

He plays the flute from his nose and can make even a matchbox and a wood-cutting saw produce the most melodious music. Israeli musician and singer Tal Kravitz, as part of his India tour, entertained the royal audience at the Israel Ambassador’s residence recently.

After getting frisked for 15 minutes by the security — after all it is the Ambassador’s residence — we got in, only to find the atmosphere inside in complete contrast. While on one side stood Tal, singing a traditional Hebrew song and swinging to his own guitar- playing, the other side was full of “special guests” who had been invited to witness the performance. The song ended and Kravitz swiftly got his black bag from another room, which we later found out, was the source of all his music. Taking a gigantic saw out of the sack, he handled it between his knees, held the far end with one hand and began to play it using one leg for vibration. This musical saw, he pointed out, was what made the whooping sound in old cartoons. “It probably all started 200 years ago when some bored woodcutter started using his saw as a violin and to his, and everyone else’s amazement, it produced a great sound. Since then, musicians from all over the world have taken a liking for this instrument,” he quipped.

Just when the audience started to get amused, Kravitz took out another instrument to play. This time, to everyone’s surprise, it was a matchbox. He held a match and its box in such a manner that it created sound. And then came another surprise: A flute that you could only play with nose. “I found some tribes playing it through their nose in the northern mountains of The Philippines and got inclined to try it out myself. It’s played from the nose but the music comes from the heart,” he says, calling it an ‘instrument of food which is played during the night’. The music it produces is so emotional that a legend says it makes the gods cry, resulting in rain,” he says adding, “It’s played by nose because our mouth sometimes produces evil words and nose is way cleaner and spiritually purer than the mouth,” he added.

In India, as part of a Lorraine Music Academy and Embassy of Israel initiative, Kravitz, an expert at a range of global ethnic instruments, insisted he couldn’t remember what inspired him to become a musician. “Would you believe me if I told you I don’t know what inspired me? But ever since I can remember, I was charmed by the world of music.

Whenever I would see an artiste performing on television or hear him on the radio, the performance touched my soul,” he recalled.