Story by Alexander Keane
I struggle to put into words the force that is the ocarina. The best analogy would be the old idea of the four Elements: Earth, the clay and craftsman who form the ocarina; Air, the breath that powers it; Fire, the kiln that brings the ocarina to life; and finally Water, the emotions within each of us. All four are in harmony within the ocarina, miss even one and the song doesn’t come through. What good is the blob of clay without the craftsman who forms the ocarina and puts it through the kiln, what good is the newly created ocarina without the breath to bring it to life, and what good is the song without emotion to back it.
The most powerful aspect of the ocarina is its sheer simplicity. Give someone a few hours with it and they can play simple melodies. Give someone a few decades though, and the result is absolutely beautiful. Its pure tone speaks to a life of simplicity long left behind, an escape from the world we live in, a getaway from this modern realm of technology and busy life running from place to place. An ocarina spirits us away to a place of balance with ourselves and with nature.
All in all the ocarina is an instrument which speaks from the soul of the person playing it, and it can be heard when you hear an ocarinist playing. The notes rise and fall just like a person’s breath, they dance around like a whirling dervish, crescendos and decrescendos bring joy and sorrow to your heart, and all the while the sound comes from a little flute made of clay. Surprising how much power can come from one little piece of clay, isn’t it?