Instruments

6.07.14: The Power of Music

Jun 6, 2014
Molly Donahue

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s nothing quite as divisive as the movie musical. Word of Mouth goes behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture. Then, a conversation and in-studio performance from David Kontak, a New Hampshire musician who makes instruments out of found objects. Plus, Sean Hurley shares the story of a band that deliberately created the world's most endangered song.


DMY/sandbox via Wikimedia Commons

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s nothing quite as divisive as the movie musical. We go behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture. Then, a conversation and in-studio performance from David Kontak, a New Hampshire musician who makes instruments out of found objects. Plus, Sean Hurley shares the story of a band that deliberately created the world's most endangered song.

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Ingo Lütkebohle via flickr Creative Commons

One of comedian Will Ferrell’s most memorable Saturday Night Live characters was musician Gene Frenkle, the belly shirted cowbell player from the ‘70s rock band, Blue Ӧyster Cult. His cowbell playing was intoxicating and hilarious and prompted this now quotable line: "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell."

That line, delivered by Christopher Walken, catapulted onto t- shirts and bumper stickers, and helped put the instrument designed for agriculture into the mainstream musical spotlight. But where did cowbell come from? And how did it migrate from the farm to the recording studio? Chicago based journalist Lori Rotenberk  wrote an article for Modern Farmer called “More Cowbell: From Herdsman’s Tool to Cultural Icon.

Photo courtesy Moonmilk.com

Ranjit Bhatnagar is no stranger to cool projects...he's made iambic pentameter from tweets, and is creating a bunch of instruments out of unexpected items, like a robo- toy piano.  Now, the sound artist can add one more feather to his cap...coming on our show.