Poetry & Lyrics
Instruments · · Bagpipes
· · Hurdy Gurdy
· · Folk Shawms and Hornpipes
· · Ghatam
· · Indian Harmonium
· · Recorders and Flutes
· · Appalachian Dulcimer
· · Bowed Psaltery
· · Shawm, Rauschpfeife and Curtal
· · Exotica
Among the array of instruments played by CORVUS, Bill and Mike use a range of exotic instruments. In the photo are the tingsha, more commonly known as Tibetan bells and used by buddhist monks for prayer and meditation. Mike uses them on the introduction to Woof! Woof! The drilbu is the Tibetan handbell.
The bowl is a singing bowl and this one was made in Nepal. Mike uses this on the instrumental The cricket's march over the salt box which will be on the second album. The sound is made by running a wooden stick around the rim to produce a clear ringing sound as when the finger is run around the rim of a wine glass. The stick can be knocked gently against the rim giving a bell like sound and holding the bowl close to the lips whilst making a "wah, wah" action with the mouth will give a vibrato effect. Also, a small amount of water in the bowl lapped up to the rim in a to and fro action will give an interesting vibrato effect.
The wind chimes (used on Gorilla) are a commercial item given to Mike by a child as a gift and normally hang in his house.
The rainstick (also used on Gorilla) was made in Chile and is made from the sun-dried hollowed out stem of a cactus. The cactus spines are then driven back through the instrument to form a baffle for small stones inside to slowly cascade thought the instrument when held upright. The ends are then plugged. We find that holding the rainstick at a 45 degree angle gives a more gradual and peaceful sound and the effect will last longer.
The kalimba (used by Mike at the end of thoughts on a slug whilst Bill is playing the mandolin) is also called a sansa, mbira or African thumb piano (there are many other names!). This is a small box made from mudvamaropa hardwood with a sound hole for amplification like a guitar's. The sound is made by plucking the metal quills with the thumbs. The quills are tunable by adjusting them through the bridge. There are two small holes at the back which give a vibrato effect when the middle finger rapidly coves and uncovers the holes. The kalimba used on the album is from South Africa and made by Hugh Tracey. The instrument has been adapted for a western scale and is usually tuned from low B to high D.
The claves are made from rosewood and are played by holding one in the cupped left hand (cupped to create a resonating chamber) whilst striking with the other clave in the right hand. (Or vice versa if you are left handed)
Many of these exotic percussion instruments are supplied by the shop Knock on Wood in Leeds.