In searching for a version of Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter for the New Year post, this strange-looking instrument popped up.
It’s a wonderful sort of Heath Robinson device (for US readers think ‘Rube Goldberg’). You can hear what it sounds like here (links to Youtube). Its inventor named it the Dactilófono. I had to know more.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Les Luthiers, an Argentinian musical comedy group formed in 1967 and still going strong.
“Les Luthiers are known in particular for employing a diverse ensemble of invented instruments created from common, everyday materials. [...]
Inventor and instrument-maker Carlos Iraldi (1920–1995), as “Les Luthiers’ luthier”, was responsible for inventing several more sophisticated instruments, including the mandocleta, a bicycle whose rear wheel moves the strings of a mandolin, the bajo barríltono, a Double bass whose body is a giant barrel, and others.
After Iraldi’s death in 1995 Hugo Domínguez took his place, and made instruments such as the desafinaducha, the nomeolbídet etc.”
Despite a limited understanding of Spanish, I got their wit. The Desafinaducha (desafinado = off-key; ducha = shower) is quite inspired.
They’ve even used it in concert, although I don’t get the pun here (if there is one): Loas al Cuarto de Baño (links to Youtube) as I can’t find a meaning for ‘loas’.
But here’s a real masterpiece – Rhapsody in Balls (Handball Blues). Enjoy!
No surprise that these guys are talented musicians. For my money this beats Victor Borge any day.