"Fantastic performance! Unique, enthusiastic and dynamic"
How do Flute 'n' Veg make their instruments?
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.
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.