This week on the broadcast, David discussed a few updates on the Doo Dah Parade, posting more on the blog, the new Songbird “Ocarina Traveller” and attempted to perform the Hey Arnold theme and Rue’s Lullaby from Hunger Games. Tune in every Tuesday night at 4pm Pacific, 7pm Eastern! http://bit.ly/songbirdvokle
Starting this week, we’re rolling out some tutorial videos to help improve your playing, from beginner to advanced players! Please subscribe to our Youtube channel for future tutorials and other cool ocarina videos!
Transverse Ocarinas (10 and 12 hole)
Pendant Ocarinas (4 and 6 hole)
This past weekend, several Taiwanese ensembles came together for a concert in Tainan to benefit the arts. What’s cool about this concert is that a large number of the musicians were ocarinists! Check out the clips below to see how it went!
Here were the groups performing:
The Tainan Xinhua Reed Mandolin Orchestra
A group of Chiayi Yue Tao Tao Ocarina Orchestra
The Chiayi music Taotao Ocarina Orchestra B group
The Chulo Philharmonic Ocarina group
Sanpo from My Neighbor Totoro
Somewhere My Love
What did you think of the performances? Would you like to see ocarina groups in the West get this big? Let us know in the comments!
During the height of the ocarina’s popularity in the US, Time Magazine featured an article about the ocarina in a 1943 issue titled, “From Mud to Melody”. Although they reported several incorrect facts (Donati named the instrument “Ocarina” which means “little goose” and he did not kill himself), it’s a great snapshot of America’s fascination with the ocarina and it’s place in military history.
“From Mud to Melody”
Monday, May. 31, 1943
The mouth organ, or harmonica, has been a great comfort to U.S.
soldiers in past wars. But priorities in metal have already put a
serious crimp in the U.S. harmonica business. This war’s comfort is
more likely to come from two easily portable and nonmetallic
instruments : the “sweet potato,” or ocarina, and the tonette.
By last week Captain Lorraine E. Watters, music director of the First
Service Command, had set up a class in ocarina and tonette playing at
Camp Edwards, Mass. It was the latest of scores of similar groups
already organized throughout the U.S.
The tonette is practically an old-fashioned penny whistle. It can be
played only in one key. But the ocarina has a full set of sharps and
flats, confers upon its player a corresponding sense of superior
Priorities on clay, the usual ocarina material, are no
difficulty. “Sweet potatoes” shaped out of plastic have the added
advantage of being practically unbreakable. Since Pearl Harbor, sales
of plastic ocarinas have skyrocketed. Biggest manufacturer, the Fred.
Gretsch Mfg. Co. of Chicago and Brooklyn, now sells some 250,000 to
300,000 a year.
The ocarina’s Latin name is usually said to be derived from the
Italian word oca (goose), but some authorities trace it to the
Italian occare, meaning to harrow. The ancient Chinese, Aztecs and
Incas all played a similar instrument. Its introduction to Western
civilization dates from the late 19th Century, when an Italian named
Donati made a turnip-shaped flute of baked clay with eight finger
holes. He subsequently killed himself by falling off a balcony.
Perfected by a German wagon maker named Heinrich Fiehn, Donati’s
invention became the rage of Vienna in the (18)90s. The very finest
ocarinas were manufactured from the mud of the beautiful blue Danube.
Today only a handful of virtuoso ocarinists rate the honor of
membership in Boss James Caesar Petrillo’s American Federation of
Musicians. But the “sweet potato” has its quota of passionate
Greatest of these is unquestionably Ocarinist Bernie Ladd, who
manufactures his own carefully tuned instruments and plays solos with
Andre Kostelanetz’ radio orchestra. Like most serious musicians,
Ocarinist Ladd is a stanch traditionalist and prefers mud to plastic.
He regards the U.S. Army’s new unbreakable ocarinas as newfangled
gadgets unworthy of a master’s breath.
What did you think of the article? Do you know anyone who played ocarina during this time? Do you know anyone in the military who plays ocarina today? Let us know in the comments below!
We are pleased to announce that Ty Ryan and James Taylor’s entry is our Grand Prize Winner! Ty and James are not only skilled ocarinists, but we were impressed with their execution of the video as a whole. They did not allow distance to stop them from entering the contest, the layering was spot on, and even worked in some Christmas elements in their backgrounds. It was a great performance and we are happy to reward them for their efforts with a set of 4 Focalink Ocarinas for their future ensemble performances!
We are also pleased to announce the winners of the secondary awards, who will each receive $100 gift certificates for their videos.
Ocarina Quartet Final Scores:
Angels We Have Heard on High by CrownofJewells with 7 votes
Angels We Have Heard on High by EuphoniumPlayer21797 with 8 votes
Carol of the Bells by BrockFenton with 63 votes
Ocarina Trio Final Scores:
Ocarina Duo Final Scores:
Thank you to everyone who voted and thank you to everyone who participated! If it wasn’t for how many of you participate, we wouldn’t be able to host these contests and we really love giving you all a chance to win some Songbird swag. There will definitely be several more contests for 2012, so if you didn’t win this one, don’t worry! We’ll be giving you more chances in the future.