Chris Funk of The Decemberists is no stranger to snooping around for unusual, rarely heard sounds. When his trail led him to Williamsburg, Virgina in the USA he sought out Dean Shostak straighaway, one of the last true masters capable of playing the glass armonica – an enchanting instrument lost to time.
First devised in 1761 by Benjamin Franklin, the art of ‘playing glass’ began to fade in popularity as musical fashions changed. Today, there are only eight glass armonica players left in the world. Along with the revival of the armonica, Shostak is also reintroducing an entire family of glass instruments, including the glass violin, the crystal hand bells and the French Cristal baschet.
Tune into our Funk Plus One short below to hear why the Enlightment-era legacy of these delicate, delightful contraptions is well worth preserving for the sake of music’s future.
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