Synchronicity. Not just the title of a hit-laden album by The Police, but a concept defined as “the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.”
In a recent session, Ronan asked about the hurdy gurdy. He’d heard about this instrument, but did not know what it was, or what it sounded like, or how long it might take to learn how to play, or what it might cost to buy one – all great questions – so we spent much of the lesson learning (together) about the hurdy gurdy, and listening to related music.
This led us to other “drone” sounds, including those produced by the sitar, Tuvan throat singing, and regional folk music of France (c. 1930) that often featured the hurdy gurdy, as well as the bombarde (an oboe-esque double-reed wind instrument) and biniou bagpipe.
We also listened to the Donovan song, “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” as recorded by guitarist Steve Hillage.
Just hours later, I was reading the October 2021 issue of MOJO, my favorite music magazine, in which Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant discusses the trajectory of his solo career:
“There was a turning point on 1993’s Fate of Nations, he says, when “I suddenly found I had enough cojones to approach Richard Thompson and [UK hurdy-gurdyist] Nigel Eaton, and start lifting the music and the intention, and actually get a grip, and grow up.”
Two references to the hurdy gurdy in one day? What are the chances? (Not only that, but Plant’s bandmate Jimmy Page famously played the guitar solo on Donovon’s original recording.)
Now, off to listen to some recordings by Nigel Eaton!