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In This Issue: This month we are celebrating the arts with gourds and with music! First off we are going to catch up with Babur who is presently lighting up Turkey with his gourd sculpture, good will and knowledge.
Next get on your dancing shoes! We are thrilled to present musicians Alycin Hayes and Scott Knickelbine. Alycin plays percussion and Scott is a banjo picker and maker. Now if we could only get the two of them together!
We have some great letters and photographs that people have sent in and a few links to live music. So let's get on with it and not waste a moment. It is time for the July issue of Gourd Fever !
(Note: High speed is recommended for the music links.)
Internationally recognized gourd artist Babur Benderlioglu
(on the right) receiving a gratitude plaquette from the Mayor of Alanya, Turkey. This beautiful Mediterranean city recently hosted the "Art & Tourism Festival."
Alanya has a population of 100,000 with 22,000 being Europeans. Babur's art caused quite a stir with the public & with the press. Here he is in an interview discussing his art.
Babur displayed eighteen of his contempory gourd sculptures and at the end of the show gave 14 to the town of Alanya. Congratulations Babur….your work is as wonderful as are you.
Alycin leading a workshop at the Cherokee Gourd Gathering.
"In my workshop I had musicians as well as people who had never played anything before. By the end of the workshop everyone was both playing and singing. We even had people from other nearby gourd making workshops come over and dance in the middle of our gourd music circle."
The first time I met Alycin Hayes was at the CGS Gourd Fest, which was held at Northern Dipper Farm. Alycin was booked as part of our entertainment and at 6:30 three vans pulled up. Out came Alycin with a half a dozen laughing and smiling women and soon there there were scores of percussion instruments filling our 100-year-old barn. The energy was electric that night; before you knew it everyone had an instrument in hand. The crowd was up dancing and playing, playing and dancing! The sun set, the moon filled the sky and we played on. It was the most perfect venue to celebrate gourds, friendship & life.
Alycin (in the blue dress standing by the door) played at the CGS Gourd Fest which was held at Northern Dipper Farm.
Alycin comes from a theatrical background. She is the grand-daughter of classical actor George Hayes, the daughter of John Sullivan Hayes, one of the original company members of the Stratford Festival and the sister of playwright Elliot Hayes. The Stratford Festival, held in Stratford, Ontario, is North America's largest classical repertory theatre, presenting the works of William Shakespeare and other great writers. Consequently Alycin's childhood home was filled with actors, writers and musicians.
At 3 years of age Alycin remembers meeting Duke Ellington. He was at the family piano composing music for a production of Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival. She recalls him taking her hands, holding up her fingers and telling her she had “piano fingers.”
At 13 Ravi Shankar dropped in for tea. He told Alycin how George Harrison was by far the most serious of the Beatles as far as Indian music goes! At 17 she travelled overland across Europe, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to India where she spent 6 months studying the culture and yoga.
Many different types of percussion instruments are in Alycin's repertoire and many were collected on her world travels. She has several gourd instruments including the berimbau, guiro, chimes, shererees, a variety of shakers and rattles, caixa, hosho, rainstick, drums, balifon, cuica and pungi. The pungi was her first gourd instrument which she purchased from a cobra snake charmer on the street in India.
Two Members of the Thai Elephant Orchestra
Alycin makes many of her own instruments to create new sounds for her music. So far she has made shekerees, rainsticks, chimes and shakers. She has also designed percussion instruments for elephants at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center near Lampang, Thailand. Yes you read that correctly...elephants!
“Originally I thought of using gourds for some instruments, but soon realized that gourds don’t work for elephants – they are just not strong enough. Plus they must stand up to the Thai weather. Elephants are very intelligent and learn very quickly. Some enjoy playing music very much and have a great sense of unique elephant rhythm."
Alycin has a busy summer planned. She is teaching, playing at music festivals across Canada and facilitating her very popular drum circles. To learn more about Alycin Hayes and to view her summer schedule click here. http://alycinhayes.samsbiz.com/
To learn more about Duke Ellington click here. http://www.dukeellington.com/
Thank you Alycin! You are always so much fun. We just love you and your inner rhythm!
We are delighted to have Scott as our guest this month. Scott is a very interesting man and is very talented as well. He has generously contributed a tutorial on how to make an akonting banjo in addition to this article. In order to do the tutorial justice, we will be presenting it in next months newsletter. And now to Scott....
I’m 48 years old, a native Wisconsinite and live in Madison, WI with my wife and two kids. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10; I started playing banjo about 5 years later. I built my first banjo with my father when I was 15. I still have it; the drumhead was autographed by Earl Scruggs! I’ve really gotten into building gourd banjos just in the last couple of years. I like the primitive nature of gourd banjos – particularly dipper gourd banjos, where Mother Nature is providing both the resonator and the neck!
In keeping with that, I usually try to keep the machine-made components in my banjos down to the barest minimum and still wind up with a playable instrument. I joke that my goal is to build a banjo that looks like a prop from the Blair Witch Project – you know, something somebody’s lashed together from stuff they found in the woods. The neck and tuners are what really distinguish an akonting from the later gourd banjo designs.
The neck of the akonting is round, not flat – it’s usually made out of a papyrus stalk or just a straight stick of some kind. The tuners tie on, and you tune the string by pulling the tuner up the neck. For that reason the neck has to be very long in order to accommodate strings of three very different lengths.
Despite those differences, the akonting is traditionally played by alternating between the two melody strings and the short drone string which is played with the thumb – precisely the way claw hammer banjo is played. This is one of the reasons some scholars feel the akonting is a direct ancestor of the American banjo files.
To hear the akonting banjo click here.
To learn more about the akonting banjo click here.
To learn more about Earl Scruggs click here.
Thank you Scott. I am all ready for the tutorial next month with my dipper gourd cleaned and ready to go!
You mentioned using Sevin to control cucumber beetles. Just to let you know, Sevin was banned in the United States. Love your newsletters, I always look forward to them. Lori Mayers
Thank you for keeping us informed. We do appreciate it. As we are in Canada, we did not realize that Sevin was banned in the U.S. I did do some preliminary research and there are other products out there that are similar to Sevin. As an alternative however, the American Gourd Society has suggested some natural methods in dealing with the cucumber beetle. Just click on the link, you know what to do...
Feng Shui can be used in your garden.
I found your site thru "The Feng Shui Way" website. I recently had my house done and now I'd like to know what types of gourds people use for feng shui in their homes. I'm interested in purchasing a few. Right now I am using brass ones but would prefer a more natural look. Any help would be appreciated.
Wendy F. - Ontario
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space, which is claimed to achieve harmony with the environment. Gourds are a powerful symbol of health, longevity and prosperity and it is the bottle gourd which most practitioners use in their homes and businesses.
For your convenience here is the link for bottle gourds. http://www.northerndipper.com/gourds.php
To send in questions to Dear Carolyn! click here.
Gourd Wind Chimes created by the students at the Prospect Road Elementary School, Halifax, Nova Scotia
As promised here are some pictures of the gourd wind chimes that were created from the students at Prospect Road Elementary School just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. We annually hold a 4-week workshop for the students from primary to grade 5 to let them experience something different.
As you had suggested, we told the students where these Guatemalan gourds originated and how it is the farmer's intention is to save money for a school for his grandchildren to go to. I showed them some of your pictures on your website of your Guatemalan trip and they were amazed.
I’m sorry I do not have pictures of the kids but we cannot post any pictures of the students on the Internet. Please feel free to use any of these pictures of the wind chimes in your newsletter and once again thank you for all your help. All the best and have a great summer.
Hi Connie, the kids did a great job. We can see Prospect Road School has many aspiring artists!
Today as I was browsing the Hamilton Public Library for new books I noticed 3 gourd related mystery novels by Maggie Bruce. They are:
2005 – Gourdmother
2006 – Murder Most Crafty
2007 – Gourdfellas
It says they also contain gourd crafting tips. Thought this might be a little tip for the next newsletter.
Thank you Mary. I have heard about these books but have not had the opportunity to read them. Perhaps we could ask you to give us a little book review...that would be fun for all of our readers.
All the best to you...
Hello there Northern Dipper,
Check out this clip from YouTube. This guy from South Wales sells mobile phones for a living....but he dreams of becoming an opera singer. It actually gave me goosebumps, such an amazing voice. Enjoy!
Thank you Beverley, I checked it out and Paul Potts is very gifted, a diamond in the rough, who now has a very bright future. Nessum Dorma brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it, a beautiful song sung by a beautifully humble man. Click here to tune in... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA
NOTE: High speed Internet is recommended for YouTube. YouTube sometimes has a pause while running so be patient and it will continue.
A Stunning Sunset Over Northern Dipper Farm
At the Beach With Royal
Royal gets very excited when she sees other black dogs. As you can imagine she was over the moon when she met this group at the beach the other day.
NEXT ISSUE: Next month we are travelling down to Madison County Arkansas to visit with two outstanding gourd artists who just happen to be sisters! Tess Eagles and sister Martha are known as Sisterwind and have been working with gourds for many years. Both are absolutely delightful.
We will also be presenting Scott Knickelbine’s great tutorial on “How To Make An Akonting Banjo.” We have been looking forward to this tutorial as this banjo would be a wonderful addition for any gourd collection or perhaps as an unusual gift for a music lover!
Now it is time to say goodbye and we will leave Paul Potts to say that for us.
Until we meet again...
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
Volume 3, Number 30
In this Issue:
Babur Benderlioglu - Gourd Art Is
Honoured at Turkish Art & Culture Museum
Alycin Hayes - Dancing To Her Own Beat!
Scott Knickelbine - A Man Passionate About The Banjo and Its Music
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia
June 13, 2007
My dear friends,
I was invited to participate in the "Art and Tourism Festival" of Alanya, Turkey. People here are familiar with gourds as there are many growers as well as some local gourd artists. Gourds played a part at the festival along with paintings, pottery and other art forms.
The festival was very successful. I had displayed 18 of my gourd sculptures and The Mayor and the people of Alanya were amazed when they saw them. At the end of the festival I gave 14 of my sculptures to the city of Alanya. The Mayor and the people were deeply touched and became very emotional.
They placed my gourd sculptures in the "Art & Culture Museum" of the city of Alanya. I was very honoured. and thought maybe you would like to know this as my good friends. I think this is a very interesting and important event in this part of the world concerning GOURD ART.
They are planning to organize a "Gourd Art Festival" for the first time in October here in Alanya. The Mayor is inviting gourd artists and gourd lovers from around the world to attend. I will keep you posted on the developments.
PS Here are some of my latest sculptures...
Jester Playing The Bagpipes
Thank you very much Babur. It is always such a pleasure to hear from you. You are an inspiration to many gourd artists and art lovers. Keep in touch and let us know the details about the "Gourd Art Festival." Perhaps some of our readers would like to have a really good gourd adventure in Turkey!
To see photos of the "Art & Tourism Festival" in Alanya click here.
To learn more about the City of Alanya click here.
“Playing music with percussion instruments
has the most creative, liberating, energizing
effect on people.”
"My focus is on good music and my workshops
are for anyone and everyone who wants to have
fun and free their inner rhythms."
Alycin with musician friend Tim Dillon
Alycin Hayes (left) with two members of the
Rhythm Sisters. This group is playing at various venues during the summer. The schedule is listed
on Alycin's website under Upcoming Shows and Events. To learn more about the Rhythm Sisters click here.
NOW BACK TO BUSINESS !
Don't forget about our challenging summer contest which is to see what kinds of creative ideas people can come up with on what to do with the Wartie gourd.
The prize is a Northern Dipper gift certificate
in the amount of $50.00 plus a sampling of the
new dyed broom corn that Northern Dipper is now selling. Take a photo of your creation and send
The close date for the contest is July 21, 2007.
Apple Gourds - 40% off
Guatemalan Gourds - 20% off
Applicable July 1 - 31, 2007 for both Internet
orders and farm visits.
To view dried gourds click here.
For directions and hours click here.
Saturday, July 21th
Join Lois Dean and the H.O.G.S.
(Happy Ontario Gourd Society) in an introductory class using Paverpol and gourds to create an amazing gourd tree.
Lois has created some captivating art
using Paverpol and gourds. Paverpol is
a water-based hardener which is environmentally-friendly, non-toxic and harmless to people, animals and plants. This is guaranteed to be a fun and informative class...don't miss it.
Sunday, July 29th, 10AM – 4PM
Come out and have some summer fun
making gourd bowls. Learn this easy
technique using dyes and paint to create
one of a kind colours. Pine needles will complete this project as a rim treatment.
For details about the workshops click here.
Here are some photos of a few of the people
who took the pine needle rim class.
This beautiful wood burned bottle gourd was made by Carolyn who brought it for Show & Tell.
Here are two new gourd cleaners that
do a super-duper job. The top one has
a coarse grit and is perfect for cleaning
The GROW REPORT
Ontario, along with other parts of Canada & the
U.S., has been hit with some very hot weather and the gourd vines will be taking off. In the
evening they should be loaded with flowers. First
to show are the males which come out a week or
two earlier than the females. The flowers only
last one night but there are thousands
throughout the summer.
Top: Female Flower Bottom: Male Flower
How to tell the difference in the flowers? The female centres are a deep yellow and underneath the female flower is a small gourd. The male flower centres are a pale yellow and there is usually twice the number of male flowers compared to female. Another hint - The female flowers grow on the side vines or the laterals and the male flowers grow on the main stem.
Here are female flowers. You can tell by the small
gourd sitting underneath the flowers.
To guarantee pollination go out with a paintbrush & dab the male and then the female. Pollination has occurred and that tiny gourd or pepo will turn into a big gourd. If it is not pollinated that tiny gourd will just turn brown and fall off.
Powdery Mildew is a fungus caused by a spore,
which is carried by the wind. It appears as whitish spots on the leaves. It will cover the plant and eventually kill it. Using a soaker or drip hose to water as moisture on the leaves can make powdery mildew worse but it is not the cause. Go to your Garden Centre as they will be able to recommend an appropriate solution to fight the problem.To learn more click here.
Tip of the Month
Candles are popular in the summer but they
are not a good match with the dry insides
of a gourd. To light a gourd lantern or light
use a low-wattage light bulb, not a candle.
To view a gorgeous Valentines gourd lamp
tutorial Lois Dean designed, click here.
P.O.V. profiled the Sierra Leone's Refuge
All Stars, a reggae band whose six members survived the civil war in their native country. Gourd shakers and a kalimba were spotted
as well as home-made drums.
To learn more about these musicians click here.
To hear this band on YouTube click here.
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