Jerrican Lyres, with Dieudonné Fokou

It is the beginning of a working residence in my workshop with cameroonian sculptor Dieudonné Fokou (visit his page, he does a great job, even without me!), Our missions: building a more than 3 meters high sculpture with integrated musical instruments, and making a few smaller pieces by combining our specialties.

Dieudonné uses metal and welding, so we will do it all on scrap.

First combination, military jerrican and desk pieces, we will work on two similar instruments:

hard to frame us both, size problem…

The object’s shape brings me to the lyre, and more precisely to a lyre I love: the Ethiopian krar.

A piece of shelf with a square section drilled with 6 small holes to fix the strings, 6 chair squares for the bridge, all of this welded on the jerrican. To open the resonance box, I give carte blanche to Dieudonné.

10mm bolts as pegs, drilled to pass the rope before winding it (small trick to drill a thread: first grind to flatten the surface, then a needle stroke and you can drill!) ,

installation of a piezo microphone to amplify the instrument, see my tutorial Piezo microphone for 3 € to make your own one!

and strings montage, all with the same thickness, the lengths will decide the notes. I use electric guitar strings, one lyre with 5th strings (A strings), one with 6th strings (E strings), I am looking for bass sound.

I try several tunings, several tensions, several ranges, to end with a special scale:

I play the four bass notes with the krar technique, muting the strings with the left hand fingers, and strumming with the right hand (I prefer without plectrum), the two remaining strings allow me to play a kind of chord to extend a little bit the solo playing, here are the very first tests (with the sound of the welding machine in the back):

I will prepare a better played video for the Youtube channel, I will add it here when it is ready, do not hesitate to subscribe to the blog, to see the next articles!

A propos Nicolas Bras 12 Articles
Homemade Instrument maker, rare and strange instrument seeker / Bricoleur d'instruments, chercheur d'instruments rares

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