Hurdy Gurdy, man.

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!

Published by billpaige

Interested parties are first directed to my memoir, “Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars” (Eckhartz Press). While I have taken music therapy classes and read extensively about music’s effect on the brain, I am NOT professionally trained -- just a music lover who recognizes that everyone benefits from music. Giving that gift to special needs youth is highly rewarding, but again, my process is intuitive, not academic. I draw largely on personal experience. I’ve spent most of my 67 years observing a wide world of music, from working as a music critic professionally for 20 years, and holding positions in music companies in the 1970s and 1990s. Since 1990, however, I have focused on learning more about music and improving as a singer, guitarist, and performer, both solo and in ensemble settings.

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