Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Libertango - Ocarina Quartet

We can perhaps thank Link from the land of Hyrule for inspiring today's video. Link is the hero in Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series which hit its high water mark with the sale of approximately six million copies of The Ocarina of Time. The New York Times reported sales of ocarinas soared with the release of the video game. Members of the ensemble featured in today's video of Libertango are not, however, from Hyrule, they are from Taiwan. And, Libertango is just one of five ocarina quartet videos you will find on c601263's YouTube channel

There are places in this world where ocarinas are not unusual but for most of us, an ocarina is a bit of an exotic. The name comes from the Italian word for "little goose", no doubt because ocarinas were once made to closely resemble a little goose. You can still find those - in fact I once saw in Zurich a glass case filled with ocarina's in shapes of many animals, including a goose. But today, most of them are made in a shape which more closely resembles a root vegetable than a goose. In fact, a common name for the instrument in America is "sweet potato." The italian firm of Fabio Managlio still makes some of the best ocarinas in the world but there are hundreds of craftsman producing ocarinas all over the world. If you must have one for yourself, you can find them for prices of under $10 to nearly $2,000 at STL Ocarina and, I suspect, at a music shop near you.

Musically, the performance by the ensemble in today's video is not their best but it does deserve a place in our collection of "Libertango on unusual instruments."

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