Tuneful Tine

Scavenging on Ipsos beach today I came across dried bamboos washed up by the tide. Adding them to the fire as kindling tonight, I was surprised at the tune they played as the air rushed through. No wonder they’re used as instruments all over the world.

Instruments have come on a lot since the basic tube with holes. My neighbour in Ireland took up wood turning during covid and produced this chanter for a set of Uileann Pipes . Made with Maple wood and his first attempt, he sent me this picture today. And he can knock a fair old tune out of the pipes too

No matter where you go, your roots call to you. The Irish language word for a fire is Tine. Calls to mind the word tines for the points on a fork. But completely unrelated I would think despite the relationship to music.

Uileann is the Irish word for elbow, used to produce the air for the pipes just like bagpipes. The coordination necessary to move your elbow while playing with both hands on the chanter is bewildering. The sound can be incredibly lonesome or full of joy as a dance tune.

And the fire lit in record time with the dried bamboo. Such an extraordinary plant -a member of the grass family, it spreads just like grass and grows to an enormous size in Corfu.

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