The Dance and Folk Festival (TFF) in Rudolstadt (Germany) doubtlessly counts as one of the most important world music festivals in Europe. It has a unique profile which, time and time again, emphasizes new music acts and its own home-grown music projects. The festival stages and markets are embedded in the whole town and bestow a flair on the TFF that can't be found anywhere else in the world. DAN MOI regularly has a stall at the festival and Jew's harp fans, too, can hear their favourite instrument played during some of the stage performances.
Traditionally Rudolstadt chooses a magical instrument each year. Some of the most brilliant instrumentalists are invited and in the week before the festival they work out a special schedule of concerts for the TFF. If one now asks when it is the Jew's harp's turn, we can at the moment only look back to the year 1999, for then the Jew's harp (as an instrument with a free reed) was a part of that year's magical instrument, the "mouth harmonica".
Albina Degtyareva with her band Ayarkhaan
Ten years later, the breathtaking group Ayarkhaan of Jew's harp expert virtuoso Albina Degtyareva took the stage in Rudolstadt. Ayarkhaan come from Yakutia and are capable of creating a musical experience from another world: the imitation of birdsong, the galloping of horses and a rhythmic speed which can leave a person dizzy. In 2011 the Swiss musician Anton Bruhin was a guest in Rudolstadt with his experimental approach to playing the Jew's harp.
The Jew's Harp player Anton Bruhin
The TFF was one of the first places in Europe where one could buy a Vietnamese Dan Moi. As far back as 2001 Clemens Voigt and Sven Otto were present at the start with their newly-founded musical instruments company DAN MOI. Clemens now recalls that: "People were curious the moment we unpacked the instruments. They came to our stall to try out the Dan Moi instruments for themselves. Many people were so surprised and fascinated by the sound of the instruments that they decided to take a Dan Moi with them. Back then we knew that the Jew's harp creates a magic with which one can really please a great many people. What was really special was that one didn't really need previous musical experience to play the Jew's harp.“ These first magical contacts of the audience with the Dan Moi have lost nothing of their power, in fact the contrary is the case, playing the Jew's harp is once again very popular. So we may hope that we will soon be able to experience one of the current virtuosi on the Jew's harp scene at the TFF again. What about the Franco-Chinese Artist Wang Li for instance? By the way, the dance and folk festival in Rudolstadt is taking place this year, as always, on the first weekend in July from July 2 to July 5 2015.