The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #131171 Message #3441823
Posted By: JohnInKansas
25-Nov-12 - 01:54 AM
Thread Name: Quills: African-American panpipes
Subject: RE: Quills: African-American panpipes
Lots of people have played pan pipes, included some Africans but I've never thought of them as an African-American instrument. Origins are lost in antiquity, but they've been well known for ~6,000 years(?), with historical references in both Greece and Egypt.
Based on ancient memory, a popularity peak in the US came with Gheorghe-Zamfir sometime around the late '50s or early '60s(?) when he appeared on the "Tonight Show" (Johnny Carson) - - and others. His origins were claimed to be based on Romanian instruments(?).
The article at the link suggests he may have "written a book" on how to play, and it would seem he might have been qualified to have done so, although I don't think I've ever seen his instruction manual at Barnes. It might be worth investigation for anyone really serious about the instrument(?).
There were perhaps a half-dozen others who appeared in the same time frame to cash in on the rather short-lived mass popularity, and most did listenable performances, but that particular spurt of popularity faded about as quickly as Yma Sumac when someone revealed her 6 ft long hair was phony.
I would expect that the instrument has had more enduring popularity in "genre music," perhaps including some folkish stuff, but in that time in my area all one ever heard much was the mass media stuff.