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Friday, 10 August 2007

Sicilian Item of the day : Marranzano

Marranzano is thought to be one of the oldest instruments in the world; a musician apparently playing a Marranzano has been noticed in a Chinese drawing from the 3rd century BC.

In English it is known as the Jew's Harp, but it has no particular connection with Judaism, in fact the instrument is known in many ancient cultures by at least forty different names.

Since its droning sounds have known to cause people to go into a trance, the Jew's Harp has been associated with magic and has been a common instrument in shamanic rituals.

The hypnotic sound of the Marranzano is generated by a vibrating air column, the frame is held against the performer's teeth, using the jaw and mouth as a resonator which greatly increasing the volume of the instrument. The Marranzano is in common use among vernacular Sicilian musicians on this island and recently a whole new music festival has been dedicated to it (http://www.marranzanoworldfestival.it/) bringing artists and Marranzano lovers from all over the world.
Marranzanos are available almost everywhere in Sicilian souvenir shops, and Ebay as well.

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