Really Nice Blues/Roots Performance with a Meliodica

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  • #5523
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Check out this steamy blues/roots performance on Prairie Home Companion.

    Great band, singer, and melodica player.

    Lowboy

    #5532
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Stunning!

    Rhiannon Giddens singing. Sweet minimalist melodica.

    #5534
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    I looked at some other videos of her performing. She blew me away. She plays banjo and fiddle. One performance on David Letterman and another with her playing solo banjo and singing really stand out. I am going to keep my eye on her.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #5539
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Same here. Some of what she’s doing is grounded in the kind of “field call” (?) singing that I’ve heard in archive Prison Recordings. It is beautiful, and her singing technique is extraordinary. Her band is The Carolina Chocolate Drops. I listened to a couple of their albums and her solo album on Rhapsody. Their music is highly suggestive for Melodica technique.

    #5573
    AvatarQuetscher
    Participant

    Great video, nicely sung and played!

    #5606
    Avatarjeff
    Participant

    Very soulful performance…agree about her general talent, I had heard the name, but not the music.

    I’ve been a lurker for a while, played piano for >50 years and saxophone for the last 20…thinking about the dive into melodica as a bonus for my ‘sax only’ gigs.

    This looks like a 32-key from the size of it…correct? Seems like the Yamahas and Suzukis are a good place to start. This one does not sound as shrill as the Hohners that I have noodled on. Anybody have a good guess what make/model this is?

    #5608
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Welcome out of the shadows, Jeff. It is a Hohner Airboard, whose main distinction is the paint job. I think you have the right idea of where to start, with a Yamaha P-32D (or P-37D) or a Suzuki M-32C (or M-37C). Of the two, the Suzuki has the shriller sound. The Hohner has a relatively muted sound in comparison with those two Suzukis, but to my ears it’s dull in comparison with the Yamahas. I’ll bet lots of people who hear this performance are impressed with the melodica, but the guy playing it would make any melodica sound good. It’s like the guy who hears Thelonious Monk play for the first time and says “I gotta get me one of those pianos.”

    #5609
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    But note that he held the back of the melodica to the mic even though the sound is projected from the keyboard side. This is to get a smoother mellower sound than would be projected from the front of the instrument. Lowboy

    #5610
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Astute observation, Lowboy!

    #5844
    AvatarAndre
    Participant

    Great!
    I love the way the guy makes the melodica sound so smooth. Lowboy noted the mic position, but would it be that the only reason? Would love to see him going more “wild” playing some more solos. 🙂

    #5845
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Andre,

    Recording the melodica from the back side and from about a foot away from the mic would make a substantial difference in the sound. Lots of “air” there.

    But in addition, this performance was from the Prairie Home Companion Show. So the band was recorded and mixed by expert sound engineers using professional and very expensive recording equipment. You can bet the melodica was processed and mixed with great care to make it sound good. Playing technique helps too of course. Clearly the performer did not have to worry about being heard (given the professional nature of the recording) and it sure looked like he was playing at a moderate volume, which helps any melodica sound a bit sweeter. Lowboy

    #5846
    AvatarAndre
    Participant

    Hi Lowboy
    Thanks for the explanation! Sure that the sound engineering makes the difference! Unfortunately my knowledge about sound engineering and mixing is extremely basic. Thanks to you I’m now more aware that sometimes just an apparent small detail, like placing the mic on the back of the melodica, and the distance between them, could make the difference. I have been listening and watching some of Addis Pablo, the son of Augustus, live acts and noticed that the mic is always pointing to the front of the melodica. His melodica never sounds so good, and although they are playing the same melodica (Addis plays a version of the airboard , the rasta melodica, the same instrument different colours.) the difference between one and another is audible. I’m sure that the festivals where he, Addis plays have also expensive mixing equipments, but it seems that the sound engineers may not be so good, or not so careful or experienced in mixing melodicas. The acoustic of the place where they preform also makes the difference. But in this case, I guess you are right Lowboy the melodica was processed and mixed with great care to make it sound good. Excellent!

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