It is probably the largest buyable jew's harp collection that has been displayed by DAN MOI at the 7th Ancient Trance Festival (Aug 8-10) in Taucha near Leipzig (Germany). Accordingly crowed was the DAN MOI musical instruments stand at the festival. The about 300 different jew's harp models have not only been there for watching - Testing and Playing was explicitly welcomed.
Anne is already visiting the Ancient Trance Festival in Taucha for four years. For her it is part of the festival experience to play through the DAN MOI jew's harp collection. "I find it super exciting to touch and try these far-travelled instruments." says the 26 year old and reaches for a jew's harp from Rajasthan, India. Every year she is making herself a present with a new jew's harp: this year she's going to take the Morchang from Northern India back home to Hof (Saale), Germany.
Oliver Klimt of DAN MOI explains: "This year we wanted to present the full range of jew's harps we have in stock, which also includes vintage jew's harps that don't even have reeds anymore beside all the playable instruments." On the table there are playable vintage jew's harps, too, like a well preserved jew's harp from the 1930s with an embossing of its origin country England. Another piece comes from Pakistan and has been produced around 1975. "Many of the jew's harp you see here at our stand are hand-wrought, like these from Pakistan, Ukraine, India, Nepal, China or Russia. Others, like some of the jew's harps from Austria, USA and Vietnam are nowadays predominantly produced using machines. The jew's harps made of wood or bamboo come from Vietnam, Cambodia, Papua, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Indonesia and so on. These are produced by craftswork, too." Oliver Klimt knows the history of almost all trumps in the collection. And it happens every once in a while that he teaches the first basic techniques of playing directly to customers at the stand who hold a jew's harp in their hands for the first time.
The reason DAN MOI is putting so much effort in presenting the jew's harp collection is last but not least their special relationship with the Ancient Trance Festival. "The first two Ancient Trance Festivals 2007 and 2008 emerged from the idea to build a platform for international jew's harp music in the local area of Leipzig.", DAN MOI founder and jew's harper Clemens Voigt remembers. "As DAN MOI we were already selling jew's harps all over the world since 2001. We have been popular internationally, but in our hometown we haven't been quite apparent. We organised the first two Ancient Trance Festivals in order to get together with musicians, jew's harp makers and fans, and at the same time to introduce us and our work to people in Leipzig and surroundings." The Ancient Trance Festivals - in 2007/2008 still in the winterly town of Leipzig - quickly found a grateful audience. There seemed to be a great interest in listening to live jew's harp music and to learn to play this instrument in workshops. Recognising this DAN MOI started to plan a larger format of the Ancient Trance Festival, uncoupled it from the company and founded in 2008 a registered (non-profit) assosiation together with many friends from Leipzig, the "Maultrommel e.V.", today's organising agency.
Then as now DAN MOI's second founder Sven Otto, mostly known as Roxi, is deeply involved in the festival conceptually: "The goal of the festival was to make a cultural contribution and to throw a glance at the jew's harp here and now. There are not only traditional ways of playing the trump (jew's harp), but there's a young, creative and very active music community that is worth to get introduced to a larger audience." Making use of the worldwide contacts of DAN MOI the Ancient Trance Festival 2014 managed to bring the congress of the International Jew's Harp Society (IJHS) to Taucha. The IJHS that has established as an international platform for the instrument jew's harp since 1998 attracts musicians, jew's harp makers and scientists (i.e. ethno-musicologists). For Roxi this is definately a peak in the history of the Ancient Trance Festival: "In this year the Ancient Trance is indeed an encounter of generations and cultures - not least because of the more than 200 congress attendees. The festival program shows the life with the jaw harp in its full range."
And therefore it was likely to stand right next to a Khomus master play from Yakutia when visiting the DAN MOI stand, or to buy a jew's harp directly from the famous master blacksmith Zagretdinov from Bashkiria, or to listen to the history of this instrument in Japan narrated by an Ainu (minority in Northern Japan) player. For the team of DAN MOI the Ancient Trance Festival is always a very special event - just because of those manifold musical and cultural encounters. The jew's harp collection of DAN MOI will be there at the next festival, just as Anne will come again. Next time, she says, she is going to get a Norwegian Munnharpe.