Siluro gained its entry in didgeridoo’s world on July 22nd 2011, the day I collected it from Master Platydoos http://www.platydoos.it
Platydoos knew about my desire to get a wooden didgeridoo of at least 3 meters, and, after summer 2010, he started “in secrecy” to move on.
In March 2011 I paid a visit to Platydoos and my surprise was really great: a didgeridoo of over 3 meters showing a yellowish colour without any visible vein. I got quite astonished by seeing that object of desire come true.
Siluro is composed by two potential instruments, assemblable through a steel joint. I have written "potential instruments" because Platydoos didn’t have a single branch 3 metres long suitable to get a didgeridoo and he used two pieces of already aged wood, having shapes adequate to be joined.
The first part is mainly cylindrical and the bell (the male part of the joint) has an outside diameter allowing its insertion in the inlet hole (the female part of the joint) of the second part which is slightly cone-shaped. The bell finishes Siluro as for any other didgeridoo, but in this case I found something unusual both in the shape and in the colour. Why that? During production, Platydoos was not happy about the volume and, to try to increase it also emphasizing the low frequencies he manufactured a bell with fir slats, subsequently stuck to the final part of the second piece. The peculiarity of this bell is that it reaches, at about 5 cm from the outlet mouth, its maximum vertical internal extent of about 22-23 cm, then decreasing to its end; in fact the outlet hole measures are 17x14cm.
We did not carry out any test, nevertheless we assume the bell’s shape contributed remarkably more than usually to the volume increase, but mainly it gave to the instrument a sort of subwoofer effect.
Once finished to examine it, it was time to give voice to Siluro. The first feeling was a strong discomfort, mainly for the lips. Initially I could not understand the reason but after some trials I solved the mystery.
From March 2010 to March 2011 I used to play (besides the common instruments) only deep didgeridoos, whose practice drew me to have little familiarity on middle instruments like Siluro (please read http://www.jackazzara.eu/articoli/english/deep_instrument_disgressions.pdf)
I am pretty sure about this conclusion because, after adding a further extension, suitable to prolong Siluro up to 4.20 metres, I finally was at ease with the instrument. At that point I had to decide whether to keep Siluro in its original length or to foresee a third part. After a short consultancy with Platydoos I opted to keep it as is was created.
As soon as I got home, I manufactured an instrument with some PVC tubes as similar as possible to Siluro, to practice while waiting for the next appointment.
On April 22nd 2011 I visited again Platydoos to collect Siluro, and try it for a month to understand if I was persuaded to buy it before asking for further customizations. When I started playing it again, I immediately understood I had in my hands something special and I decided to buy it without any trial period.
The next step was to choose the name and the customizations. Its name had to recall something of Mantua area and, considering the bell’s length and shape, I christened it as “Siluro” (a not autochthonous fish, yet introduced about 50 years ago) and I requested to decorate and carve the bell to recall the head of a Siluro fish.
On July 22nd I came back to collect the MARVELLOUS creature, already completely blossomed. I got stunned by admiring the job carried out by Platydoos. The bell duly represents the Siluro’s head, thanks also to the inside part painted red. All the instrument long, due to the application of a palisander-effect paint,, quite many grains appeared, whose waiving forms wonderful patterns which “as natural embroideries” further enrich the instrument. To seal everything, the pictures have been taken along the banks of river Po; another amazing coincidence: a week before I bought a shirt showing the aborigine representation of the God Fish, expressly worn for the occasion.
After 90 days I can state, as often it happens, there is no better master than a new instrument to know and explore. Siluro in this has a double value because it provides a new experience as playability, pressure and lips adherence, back-pressure, vocalism and voice, all to rediscover and reinvent.
To complete Siluro’s portrait here are some technical features:
The mouthpiece has been manufactured separately with beech-wood and subsequently glued on the first piece. It is circular with an inside diameter of 3,3 cm and a light camber after the initial portion to allow the lips to better lay and adhere.
The mouthpiece may recall the Will Thoren’s ones but it is different (I purchased 3 PVC mouthpieces from Thoren) because it does not have the cup-shape and the camber is not positioned at the very beginning but some mm after. Once finished, the camber goes on for at least 1.5 cm with the same inlet hole and the walls thickness is only 2 mm.
The used wood to manufacture Siluro is the Sorb Berry (or Birds Catcher’s tree) of the Roses family
The first part is 156 cm long and actually it is a proper actual instrument. The drone is a RE-73.4Hz and the toots are RE-146.8Hz\SI-246.9Hz\FA-349.2Hz. The bell is the male part of the steel joint and it has an external circular diameter of about 4.8 cm. The second part is 149 cm long (including the 36 cm of the bell), slightly cone-shaped, and I do not consider it playable because the inlet hole has a diameter of almost 5 cm, with flat edges and over 1 cm thick. Siluro is in total 306 cm long.
Due to its length, aiming to help the wood for a better strength and stability, in three key-points it has been applied, by means of vinyl glue, a hemp rope, then painted with the same palisander-effect varnish.
Siluro has 3 drones F-43.6Hz\G-98.0Hz\D-146.8Hz, and first four toots are G-98.0Hz\D-146.8Hz\G#-369.9Hz\C-523.2Hz.
Click here to listen Siluro Drone
Click here to listen Siluro Rhythm
I end up dedicating some lines to Platydoos, in the world Matteo Bellini from Castel Dario (Mantua - Italy).
For the didgeridoos, his website and Siluro speak by themselves; I can only add he became the Italian manufacturer of wooden instruments with the best quality/price ratio.
A part the didgeridoos, Platydoos not only cares very much about details during manufacturing, yet he pays great attention and commitment in the relationship with persons. Time is necessary to do that, and actually he acts without any hurry, not caring about the clock and with a contagious calmness. In the gestation months of Siluro we meet for 3 days, in which he completely devoted himself to the undersigned and it was an idea of his to go and take the pictures by the river Po, a not banal gesture.
At the end, Platydoos helped me to understand (finally, after 9 years of didgeridoo) what is the oneness of an instrument obtained from a branch or trunk left ageing even for 2 years. The oneness transcends both Siluro and Platydoos and it should not be researched in the sonority and playability characteristics of an instrument. To try to synthetically explain what I mean I use a metaphor : playing an instrument obtained by a branch collected on the maker's native land, and left ageing in accordance to the rhythms dictated by the environment, can be defined “biological playing” or “playing only season’s instruments”.
Here below the link in order to see Siluro in all its splendor! Good bye!
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