The North American Jews Harp Festival – Bay City Arts Center • August 12–13

Jews Harp FestivalTWANGIN’, HUMMIN’ and strumming … all night long. An ancient, mystical little music instrument brings together aficionados of  the unusual once again for the 20th Annual Jews Harp Festival.  This 3 day event overflowing with the curious and the dedicated – who find joy in music and musical instruments way outside the traditional – offers workshops, demonstrations, band scrambles, story sharing, collector displays and a unique musical community.

Kazoos and clackamores (a percussive type of jews harp), musical saws and Tibetan singing bowls, are a few of the other instruments getting “air play” at the festival, but certainly the diminutive pluck is the center focus. From beginning lessons to how to play amplified, a wide variety of workshops will entice newcomers and give veteran players a chance to develop new techniques.

A Jews harp is held against the teeth or lips, and plucked with the fingers. After you practice awhile, and you learn not to hit the plucking bar on your teeth, sonic vibration becomes the creation.  The Jews Harp has appeared in many cultures of the world throughout time, and most likely while providing waves and drones and vibes on many a recording, probably goes unnoticed to gagillions of listeners.

Numerous styles from ancient to modern, made of bone,  bamboo, of woods, and metals, and names like genggong (Bali) to 3 String mouthbow (Hawaii), the Gewgaw (England) make for colorful and intriguing study. This, perhaps why, for 20 years this simple instrument can bring so many folks together.
The festival is free. Lots of activities throughout the 3 day fest, are open to all. Check the website for the schedule of workshops and presentations, plus lots of fun and informative info on the instrument also called, trump, jaw harp, mouthbow …..

At the Bay City Arts Center in Bay City (just north of Tillamook), Friday Aug 12: 1pm – 10pm, Sat Aug 13: 10am -10pm. Go to: jewsharpguild.org.

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