Monday, July 23, 2012

Shell music

Anton Varela is a skilled Galician Gaita maker and performer from Ferrol in North Western Spain. His wife, Raquel Fontes, is equally proficient on cunchas, scallop shells used as scraped-percussion instruments. Here they are playing together during last week's Rencontre des Luthiers et Maitres Sonneurs in Central France. Notice the way Raquel strikes the shells together to accent main beats, scrapes to continue the rhythm, and never overdoes it - pausing at strategic places to give the music a lift. Moitas grazas, Anton e Raquel!


Elin Brusberg said...

Hi, Daniel! Real interesting instrument! I bet that takes some time getting absolutely right :)

Daniel Winfree Papuga said...

You're right that playing cunchas isn't as easy as it might sound. But I'm sure that someone with a good sense of rhythm would be able to catch on. Pablo Carpintero made a nice page about Cunchas that might help, with a video that shows the technique in close up: