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Published on Mar 13, 2012
The freshest thing in new music is fresh vegetables, and whatever is on the table at the Nan brother's household tonight, it probably isn't healthy. The two have been using all their veg for making musical instruments from vegetables and giving numerous performances in China.
Tired of munching on 'taters? Gnawing on carrots? Two brothers in Beijing have come up with an alternative use for roots, tubers, and gourds. Nan Weidong and Nan Weiping have refined the art of fashioning musical instruments out of vegetables.
The two were encouraged to study music by their music teacher father and came up with the idea of making instruments from vegetables two years ago.
Nan Weidong explains that picking the right raw material is essential.
[Nan Weidong, Musician]: "If the water content in vegetables evaporates, the tune will become higher than the basic tune or go out of tune. Therefore we choose the vegetables with as much water content as possible. The vegetables have to be solid and hard. We can't use those vegetables left over for days. They are too soft to be played."
The brothers test the pitch of the instruments with an electronic tuner.
[Nan Weiping, Musician]: "The deeper the hole, the lower the pitch. The shallower the hole, the high the pitch. Besides, the size of the hole also matters to guarantee the quality of the sound. The leeks only serve as decoration. I made it based on the principles of how Chinese panpipes work."
These maestros of marrows have appeared on numerous TV shows and regularly receive payments of up to seven thousand US dollars for a performance. But vegetables have a shelf life, so each show requires a brand new set of carrot and leak panpipes and potato ocarinas.