A while ago, Irwin complained that there was not enough trombone music on WFMU. While I tend to agree with his assessment, the status quo might be preferable to the situation at Indiana University, which has too many trombones on campus. However, there is one instrument which is even more neglected, both on WFMU and in academia, the almighty nose flute. Nose flute is not taught at any university, established composers don't write nose flute concertos, and it isn't even represented in marching bands. This post is an attempt to change that.
For some background, and a few sound samples,check out the website of the Vancouver Noseflute Ensemble. There is also a short instructional video if you want to try playing yourself. But the real virtuoso nose flute rock stars live in Germany, where the Original Oberkreuzberger Nasenflöten-Orchester: Der Grindchor blows audiences away with their raw power and musicality. The original formation met during the 80s in the Berlin-based political party KPD/RZ, who among others campaigned against pollens and smoking in one-way streets. Current orchestra members include Brezel Göring (Stereo Total), Thomas Kapielski (author), Harry Rowohlt (author, soap actor, and translator of Flann O'Brien) and Frieder Butzmann (veteran of underground Neue Deutsche Welle).
The original idea was to play grindcore on nose flutes, but for some reasons it didn't fly. Instead they now take hits from the past and give them the nose flute makeover. There is no way a song could sound worse on nose flutes than the original, so it is baffling that they haven't hit the big time yet, and that there aren't hundreds of other bands copying this recipe for success.
Check out their renditions of Tiptoe Through The Tulips (MP3), Sid Vicious' version of My Way (MP3), and don't forget the video for the nose flute take on the Kinks classic Sunny Afternoon (6.6 meg MPEG video, unfortunately incomplete). And who wouldn't want more photos of Germans with nose flutes?