Flute 'n' Veg

Construction

"Fantastic performance! Unique, enthusiastic and dynamic"
SciTech, Perth

How do Flute 'n' Veg make their instruments?
Handcrafted carrot panpipes With lots of time and patience! Selecting them at the various local supermarkets can be time consuming. Long ones are best - between 15 and 25 cm - not too thin, at least 4 cm in diameter at the thick (leafy) end and as straight as possible (makes drilling not too tricky!).

In an ordinary ordinary kitchen it takes about 3 hours to make a full set of panpipes - 12 notes. Another 2 to 3 hours to make the flageolet and quena flutes. In all a full day's work at the office! Sometimes 2 depending how many are required (Duo or quartet) Once finished they are wrapped in very wet tea-towels and kept in the fridge until performing time, carrying them in a cool esky.

Carrot flutes - music first, then lunch!

The fresh celery addition happens minutes before the performance followed by a fine tuning session with the piano accordion using mung beans to slightly raise the pitch if necessary. They are pre-tuned at 440 Hz whilst making them, with a electronic tuner.

They need refreshing - with the aid of a squeeze bottle - regularly throughout the performance to keep them moist, so that they don't dry out (easier to play) and look fresh at all times. As you can imagine they are very demanding!

Why going through all that bother for instruments that after all only last the time of one performance? The smiles and joy - astonished looks and comments - from young ones to seniors listening attentively is so rewarding and thus worth the effort of making them. Or maybe simple, gentle madness!

The tools specifically created and designed for the job, were made by Kerry's partner who is a luthier of international reputation. He specialises in the making and restoration of ancient wind instruments.

Flute 'n' Veg
Flute 'n' Veg

Alain at work
Alain at work