Category Archives: Music


who is it
Under the Stars 2004
How I bought My SAZ
Shifting Sands
Chinese Lute

who is it

Bjork’s Medulla album is superb. I’ve been listening ever since it arrived by post from Amazon as a birthday present. Now you can see the video of the single “who is it” performed with the handbells, not present on the album version.


from Medulla

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Under the Stars 2004

Central Park, East Ham, London

Friday 3rd September 2004 – Swing in the Park
6.30 – 10.30pm – Swing the night away under the stars to The Glen Miller Tribute Orchestra

Saturday 4th September 2004 – Sangeet in the Park
6.30 – 10.30pm – Live song and dance from Bhangra to Bollywood

Sunday 5th September 2004 – Prom in the Park
7.00 – 10.30pm – The 50 piece London Gala Orchestra brings a touch of style with a live concert of popular classics.
Grand finale with a spectacular firework display


Later Friday is kind of possible, I’ll probably go along to the first half of Saturday night, the traditional bit, then leave when the big rap stars come on stage.

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How I bought My SAZ

I was in Turkey on holiday, and I took an old guitar along. I carried it around with me because there wasn’t much to do all day in the heat except sit around sunbathing and swimming off the Gulet boats that toured around the islands. Anyway, Turkish people are very friendly and would see the guitar and ask me to play, or invite me in to have a drink. A few older guys told me they played the SAZ, but never seemed to have one somehow. Then one evening, I spotted a retaurant which had two musical intruments hanging up on the wall. It turned out that one was a saz and the other an OUD. I asked if anybody played them and was told to come back the next night at

So I did, ate my dinner there and waited. Eventually an old man took the saz down from the wall and started playing. Another man sang. So I sent them over a drink which made them very happy. They came over and I watched carefully as a couple more tunes were played. Well they must have noticed that I was following the left hand and offered to pass the instrument over to me. Kind of insisted really. I had drunk enough wine to think there was nothing unusual about attempting to play an instrument I’d never touched before in public!! But the thing is, the saz is really quite simple, and I’d been listening to a lot of eastern style music so I just held down a random note on the highest string and strummed the chord. That soundeed ok so I started to experiment with a tune, just keeping to the one string, and strumming the rest occasionally as a drone. They were absolutely astonished and so was I. I was enjoying myself and the rhythm got faster and faster.
What a fabulous instrument, I just had to have one.

Because I was in a tourist resort it was really hard to find a Saz shop. I asked around and everyone told me to go to this bigger town an hour’s bus ride inland. I tried that but the taxi drivers who claimed they could take me to a saz shop just dumped me off at their cousin’s restaurant all the time.

Back at the beach, I asked the man in the water shop and he offered to take me somewhere on his moped. We went into a bakery, but then the baker showed us upstairs. There were about a dozen instruments for sale, of which about 6 were the type of Saz I wanted. I tried a few and then settled on one and agreed a price. As it’s quite a fragile instrument I nursed it carefully on my lap all the way home on the bus and plane.

Here’s a photo showing the body of my 7 string saz:

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Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands – song

shifting sands asf”
I want to get this over and done with. It’s just a demo – ok, a way of getting the song down on tape somehow. Ideally there would be images from Whitsunday Island on the video, and some orchestration with perhaps my friend Alex helping out on the vocals but some vital components of the technical apparatus are still missing. Beggars can’t be choosers.

So here’s the photo I took of whitesands bay, and the cessner light aircraft. Whitsunday Island is an uninhabited nature reserve off the coast of Queensland, Au, near the Great Barrier Reef and I had the privilege to camp there for four nights.

Fantastic. Nothing to do with the song though, which is all about setting off to Bilbao, Spain on my own.

Here’s a later video of Shifting Sands by Andy Roberts:

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Chinese Lute

Now with sound

During the half term holiday I finally found the time and inclination to get the Cybercentre’s DV camcorder out of the box, charge it up and read some of the instructions. The upshot of this is that I can now make half decent sized movies which are longer than 16 seconds duration, but much more importantly adding the extra dimension of SOUND. To celebrate this, I planned and directed a short music performance featuring me in the back garden playing a composition on the chinese lute. I was really pleased with the sound quality captured by the built in microphone, but then it took a long time working out how to get the captured video into a format small enough to put online. This would probably have been much easier on Mac with iMovie, but the cybercentre doesn’t have macs and neither do I at home.So the output file which you can download by clicking on the embedded photo here is a 3.6Mb .ASF file using mpeg4 encoding, which should play in Windows Media Player. Please let me know if you can hear it.

You can play too.

The instrument I am playing was purchased in Beijing during a trip I made 4 years ago ( lots of photos on my Yangstse Gorges site ). Known in english simply as “Chinese lute”, they are made in sizes ranging from a huge double bass version right down to a ukulele size. For fun, I made a flash movie based on my lute which has the genuine sound of each string sampled and you can play it by mousing over the drawing of the strings. See above, go on – try it.

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Music is being neglected
music stave

2 jobs and a full time degree course are squeezing music off the agenda. This is a situation up with which, for too long a time, I will not put. Listening to classical Indian music instruction coming through my set top box, it’s radio 3. I notice that Frankie Roberto has been to a lot of gigs recently, and wants to try and learn guitar again in the summer. Cool.

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Thanks for reading Andy Roberts articles about Music on the DARnet Blog