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Tapani Varis — Munniharppuuna (Jews Harp)
(NorthSide NSD 6011, 1996, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1999-01-01

Munniharppuuna (Jews Harp) Cover art

Cool. Bring on the Jews Harps! One might not have given much thought to how much music can be built around a little one-note instrument that goes “boing boing.” They come in all flavors from various countries, with ever-subtle differences, and many of those variations of the instrument are employed on this disc. Varis is a Finnish Jews Harp player, and on the fourteen tracks herein he plays in a solo setting, with other Jews Harp players, and with other kinds of accompaniment (violin, viola,  flutes, acoustic guitar, banjo, usually one at a time), but always in a way to highlight his own contribution. While the tunes are very folk oriented, what with the fiddles, guitars and banjo and all, the pulsating and rhythmic Interferences which set up, especially when two jews harps play together make for some very interesing listening. One could almost swear some of those Jews Harps are polytonal. The overall effect on the listener tends to be fairly trance-inducing over the long haul, though in more measured doses this disc can be a lot of fun.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 16, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Tapani Varis


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