This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Mar 28, 2012

A genuine Guarani nose flute

The Guarani people live in Paraguay, southern Brazil, parts of Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia. Their demographic dominance has been greatly reduced by European colonization that happened in 16th century (they were 400.000 at this time and are now 30.000). Now, they've got more and more westernalized, and have been despoiled of their territories by deforestation in order to implant soy culture and cattle ranches. They are killed by the farmers, and hundreds of them commited suicide during last years. Their survival is a matter of time.

The birds have always had a great importance in their life, myths and shamanic practices (you can read some examples here). That's the reason the movie dedicated to them was called The Birdwatchers.

One of their handicraft specialties is the making of bird calls. They probably invented the first nose flute which pitch is driven by buccal cavity (the model that is now known as "Vietnamese nose flute", but which shape was certainly imported to Vietnam, as traditional nose flutes from this country were finger-holed).

I found one of their nose flutes. It certainly is not an ancient one, but it is authentically made by the Guaranis. It is very roughly made, is not my best nose flute (!) but it works, although probably "bird-calling oriented", and not "opera-performance dedicated to".

Here are two sound samples, the first one is some test of how could sound a bird calling with this nose flute, and the second one a short recording of the Nosy Diva playing El Condor Pasa (sorry, it's from Peru and not Paraguay...)


If you want to support the Guarani's struggle for existence, you can donate here.


Here is a video showing Guarani's "home"-made instruments, but no nose flutes (and others here) :

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