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The Wyld Men - The Vegetable Musicians

Dr. Cranius Lunch, Seth Sethstherton and Grebe, are more commonly known as the Wyld Men, specialising in Veggie Music - it is no joke-- they really do make music on vegetables.

Think of it as ‘precycling’.   Before you use something, you use it for something else first -- in this case, parts of your next meal.  Read on, follow the links and engage your imagination!

The Wyld Men are three like minded artists who perform and experiment in the realms of music, theatre and movement. The "Veggie Music" CD is an exploration of song styles, soundscapes and radio theatre featuring the use of flutes made out of vegetables and other inventive sources of music. In this recording you will hear such instruments as Yam, Broccoli and Carrot Whistles as featured on the album cover.

They have found in live performance that they must be able to create their instruments on stage, or no one believes that they are really vegetables. While it is technically possible to create a fingered fife or flute from, say, a carrot, this is an exacting, tedious and lengthy process – and one at which they are not at all accomplished. The solution is to quickly create musical vegetables by drilling them out, then assembling a number of these vegetables creates, in effect, a set of pan pipes (no pun intended, though they are all ultimately destined for the pan. When playing the street at a festival the Wyld Men like to claim that we are the only musicians out there guaranteed to go home to supper).

wyld men in action  

You can hear samples of the Veggie Tunes played by the band here  and if you like what you hear buy the full cd.

Described as "A playful and eclectic melange of diverse musical styles, comedy and theatre using flutes made out of vegetables as well as experimental instruments such as the umbrella-phone and a whiskey-in-the-jar-o-phone." - it is great music and great fun!

The Veggie Music CD gives the band ample opportunity to share the tunefulness of tubers.  Seth's My favourite veggie cut (which is making more and more ipod downloads!!) is Location 5, an ode to David Brubecks' Take Five.  The guitar man Frank is awesome, David (Grebe) performs some monstrous percussion,  and Seth (Douglas) is very sassy on the beet, yam and broccoli and Jonathan explores the unexplored on slide potato.

The whole CD is beyond expectation  - give it a listen here - and let the jaw slacken just a little, the eyes widen and allow that laugh to start way down deep in the belly.
 


Jonathan Crocker ( Dr Cranius Lunch) explains more -

"For the Wyld Men, it all started with the carrot flute.  Later, after I had already branched out into all kinds of vegetables,  I came across references to the First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra and then Flute n Veg.

The Wyld Men appear only at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, but I also perform at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.  I from the US but am now based in Norway (thanks to a Norwegian wife) and perform solo or with other musicians at a variety of festivals here, going by the name Dr. Cranius Lunch."

Dr Lunch's "moment of fame" is that once he played a carrot flute before the King of Norway. So he quite justifiably claims to have played the first carrot ever heard by a Crowned Head of Europe! Quite an achievement!

Yes another first for the irreverent Dr - He claims to have invented -- or at least independently originated -- the slide potato! He is certainly the most accomplished performer on the instrument.
 

And now here is Douglas Mumaw's (Seth Sethstherton) tale!:

He heard about Jonathan's suggestion that he was making flutes from carrots and he was tickled orange!  it made him laugh in a deep down in your belly way. To hear it over the phone, Norway to Virginia,  is one delicious thing but to see this in person was transformational.  Soon they were transforming other living things with this  brilliant idea.

A favourite experience as a Veggie Musician is the sheer amazement of the audience. Children's mouths fall open,  parent's eyes widen and jaws slacken. Grandmas in wheel chairs giggle like little girls.  Like the elemental  "ooooooooo" when a shooting star is seen, the Veggie Musician is treated to the continual human response of amazement.

Since Jonathan has perfected the slide potato, opening up the melodic frontier,  Douglas is the bass line of the little combo, whose duty is to the rhythm which is usually comprised of a compliment of Yam (that sweet low tone), Broccoli (that most hilarious of instruments.) and the Beet (the only site gag that ALWAYS gets a laugh...it has never failed them.)

By tuning these three vegetables to E, F, G or  C,D,G...one can noodle along with almost any folk song every written.  Add a guitar and Jonathan is free to roam the melody and  Seth can follow along on the bass line and of course David (Grebe; the only real musician in the bunch...bunch...get it?) keeps them all together with his far reaching percussion skills.


Want to learn even more about these individuals? Click here for their web site profiles. (opens in new window)

The natural history of Vegetable Instruments is explained more fully at the Play Your Food Site, edited by Dr Cranius Lunch (Jonathan Crocker) one of the bands members.  Here you will also find useful links to other veggie music.

You want to have a go making your own carrot ? Full directions are given on the Play Your Food Site, or just click here.  (Broadsheet courtesy of Dr Cranius)


See also the people who play carrot pan pipes! - FlutenVeg - CLICK HERE.

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