The DAN MOI Jaw Harp Blog ♫

  • The Moseño Flute: A Rarity from the Andes

    The Moseño flute is a very special, spherical instrument. Flute players appreciate the instrument for its warm, light sound that is able to spread genuine tranquility. That’s why the Moseño is suitable for meditations – whether for oneself or for others. The Moseño is easy to learn: with its six grip holes and an easy to use mouth piece it doesn’t require practising for years. The Argentinean musician Pablo Salcedo from the group Markama is a passionate Moseño player. He is fascinated by its smooth, humming tone. 

    Moseno Bamboo Flute

    What is particular about the Moseño is a blowing pipe, which is placed on the sound tube. This mechanism, which only serves to transport the breathing air from the player to the other end of the flute originates from the traditional Moseños as they are used in Bolivia. There, Moseños can reach a length of more than 2 meters. Those sound particularly deep and airy. The attached air pipe is there to make it easier for the player to reach the grip holes. Otherwise, they would be too far away from the mouth piece. That’s why the Moseño is being held like a transverseflute. Several spellings are common for the instrument: Moxeño, Mohoceño, Moceño.

    The Moseño in Bolivia

    In Bolivia, the Moseño is being played outdoors at public festivities. “Usually, not only one instrument is being heard. The Moseño is being played in groups of 10, 20 or more instruments. There are four different sizes: the biggest is called Salliwa, the others are named as follows (in a descending order): Moseños Eraso, Licu, and Chili”, writes Pablo Salcedo in an email to DAN MOI. Mainly, men are playing on the Moseño. The Bolivian province of Inquisivi is famous as its place of origin and it’s located about 5 hours by car in the East of Bolivia’s capital La Paz. There, every year the Mohoseñadas take place. “Traditionally, Moseños will be accompanied by Huancara drums and an Imilla. The Imilla is a high oboe (similar to a Chirimia) with a screeching sound”, Pablo explains. Young, unmarried people are dancing on the streets to the music of the Moseños.

    The Mohoseñada (also known as Moseñada) is a ritual dance of the Aymara culture, which is being performed during the rainy season, so usually in February. It is dedicated to the youth and fertility of the earth. When the potato plants bloom in lilac and white the Mohoseñada is being danced, too, as a token of gratuity to the Pachamama, mother earth. The dancers wear strong, distinctive colours: red or green skirts and yellow or red blouses. Their high-spirited dance that involves many moves is a symbol for the peak and power of youth. Today, the dance and instrument have become quite popular and are cultivated in many places in the region around La Paz. In February 2011, the Mohoseñada was officially recognized by being declared an Immaterial Cultural Heritage of La Paz.

    Music of the Andes, meditation and insider tip for flute experts

    Pablo Salcedo who plays with the Latin folk band Markamasince 1994 describes the sound of the Moseño as curative and full of compassion and love. The Moseño is an instrument with an incredible personality. “The Moseño’s power of expression is remarkable, when played for meditation. The sound does not only captivate the auditory, but the flute player, too. That’s truly magic.” As a matter of fact, the Moseño is being used for relaxation music. The warm sound is taken as background music for Yoga exercises or Reiki and is highly appreciated for meditation as well.

    For friends of the Latin American flute music, the Moseño is a very special rarity. It is an eye-catcher. Its warm sound triggers excitement. With the instrument all known melodies from the Latin American folklore can be played. Solemn, slow songs unfold their charm the same as faster songs from the repertoire of the Andes music. The Argentinean flute expert Uña Ramos, too, loved to play the Moseño. The Chilean music group Illapu uses the Moseño in some of their songs. In particular, the songs “Labradores” and “Tristeza Incaica” have become popular. Both of them emphasize the melancholic sound colour of the Moseño. They serve as a reminder that the Moseño is also being played at funerals in the Bolivian Andes.

    Yet the Moseño is an insider tip among flute fans. “It’s pretty difficult to get an instrument of good quality”, writes the flute player and founder of the World Flutes Festival Pablo Salcedo. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is rather seldom used by music bands that don’t have a direct connection to the Latin American folklore. But everything is possible with it. The Brazilian Duo Portal sketches a mysterious acoustic landscape with the Moseño.

    The Moseño is diatonically tuned and held like a transverse flute. Sometimes flute players put long instruments on their shoulders. To elicit a sound, one blows into the round opening at the air pipe. The stream of air is being transported through the pipe to the upper end of the flute. There the air hits a so-called windway that makes the flute sound emerge. In terms of sound creation, the Moseño works exactly like a recorder. The tone can be varied by blowing with different pressure into the air channel. The Moseño resembles the Slovakian Fujara. This very long shepherd’s pipe works also with an attached air pipe. However, the Fujara is being held vertically.

    Perhaps, in the Western world the Moseño is also the instrument of celebrated loneliness and longing. Particularly, the big flutes with a deep sound found their way out of the Bolivian mountains into the big cities of the world. Pablo Salcedo describes their magic effect by saying: “One can play the Moseño fabulously by oneself, thereby creating a moment of meditation. It reflects the spiritual relationship between human, nature and the infinity of the mountains.”

    The Moseños you find in the DAN MOI shop are manifectured by a master instrument maker from Portugal, who learned to build Moseños in South America. Our Moseños are made from European bamboo, that is prepared for the local climate conditions. The construction process of one instrument takes a year. Build with care, they have an excellent quality.

  • Zoord: With the jaw harp on the frozen Lena

    They call their music Power Folk. And it’s true, the music of Zoord has an energetic rhythm and instantly gets into your feet. Brand-new melodies from the East of Europe, outright revealing a lust for life and joy of playing. The first CD of the unusual trio from Hungary around the energetic jaw harp specialist Áron Szilágyi was released in 2016. In 2017, they had intermezzos at the Ancient Trance Festival in Taucha and at the Sziget Festival in Budapest.

    Our music originates from Siebenbürgen. We keep the connection to tradition, but form it as we understand it today, and we alter it according to our mood and our feeling”, says Áron Szilágyi. Zoord’s regional focus roots back to their violinist Béla Drabant. In recent years he frequently travelled to Siebenbürgen, to play with those musicians who learned the old melodies from their parents and grandparents. Some of those musicians are not alive anymore, but their melodies live on – amongst others in the music of Zoord.

    The interaction of drums, violine and jaw harp is something very special. This is unprecedented. Over the last 10 years, the three musicians have been playing together in various music formations. The three of them have completely different musical backgrounds. Drummer Krisztián Almási is also active in punk and rock bands, but he creates music programmes for kids, too. His speciality is combining punk and traditional music. Áron Szilágyi is one of the most versatile and powerful jaw harp players in the world. He dedicated his whole life to music. Not only as a musician, as he is also the director of the Music Instrument Museum of the town Kecskemét. All 3 musicians have their roots in the area around the Hungarian town Kecskemét, which is known for its folk music scene.

    The initial spark to form a band project was a memorable journey to Siberia. “In 2014, we had a 14-days tour in Siberia. In the midst of winter. It was very cold. The warmest temperatures we experienced were –30 degrees Celsius. After we returned from the tour that made a really great impression on us we decided that the band name should refer to the cold tour through Siberia.” And so Zoord is the animalistic, wild interpretation of the Hungarian term “zord” that bears the meaning of gloomy, cold and rough.

    We were invited to the International Khomus day and gave a big concert in Yakutsk. After that we travelled to smaller towns and villages.” At the Zoord concert in 2017 during the Ancient Trance Festival in Taucha Áron tells the auditory from their legendary trip to Siberia: the community rooms, where the concerts happened, always appeared to be far away from the nearest houses. Far and wide no other neighbour towns or villages were to be seen. Only steppe, as far as the eye could see. How would someone ever get to their concert in such a remote area? But right before the start guests from all directions pushed into the concert room and were delighted by what they heard. “It really was an adventure to travel through the steppe and on the frozen Lena. After the journey we wrote several new songs that reflect on our impressions.”

    Currently, Yakutia is globally seen the region with the strongest jaw harp culture. How does a jaw harp musician change after such a profound experience? “Clearly, it became evident to me that melody and rhythm play different roles in Yakutia. In Yakutia jaw harp rhythms have much more a flowing character. You are not so much bound to a beat, rather the music simply flows. This playing style serves to reach a different state of consciousness, to drift away from the presence.

    Such impressions from the journey and the experience of another culture provided Áron’s jaw harp play with more depth, he retrospectively says. In Zoord’s music the jaw harp is sometimes the bass, at times the drone and at other times a melodic instrument. The CD “Zoord” is released now and the band toured to other “crazy” places in the world, among them Japan and Kazhakstan.

  • Birdsong Fun with Children

    In many countries around the world, International Children's Day is celebrated on 1 June. As like in Germany, the countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, such as Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, celebrate this day, the day when children's dreams and interests take center stage. Even in the USA, in Ecuador, Portugal, and China the "Day of the Child" is celebrated on 1 June. Then kindergartens and schools organize summer and children's parties with games, sweets, dancing and music for the youngest. And of course, there are often small surprises. Here is a sounding suggestion from DAN MOI for a chirping children's day.


    The duck-call instrument Groowah is our own original invention. The special thing about the Groowah is its "big belly". Compared to traditional bird calls or bait instruments, the Groowah has a cavity through which a variety of sound variations can be generated by closing and opening a hand in front of the sound opening. The idea for the Groowah had DAN MOI founders Sven "Roxi" Otto and Clemens Voigt, who played together as musicians in the "Little Tongue Vibration Orchestra" and used usual duck-call instruments for special sound effects. These had only a small resonating cavity. To modulate the sounds, Roxi and Clemens therefore used both hands and formed a cavity in front of the exit of the duck calls. Closing and opening the hands created playful new sounds. Thus, the idea was born to build an instrument in which there is already a resonant cavity and in which only one hand instead of two hands are needed – an effect instrument that is able to provide lively, rhythmic sounds on stage.
    The prototype of the Groowah had to have a narrow neck, which opens into a 4 to 5 cm large, round cavity. With this idea, Clemens and Roxy went in search of a clever craftsman who could make such an instrument according to their ideas. In Vietnam, they found a master of his craft, who to this day makes the Groowah for DAN MOI. The Groowah is fun for children, teens and adults alike, it is easy to play and provides a great variety of playful sounds and rhythms.

    Twittering Birds - Water Warbler

    There are many other birdsongs that can be imitated with instruments. With the help of these small sound producers, children can get to know and explore bird sounds. Or just having a lot of fun, as with our funny Twittering Birds - small water warbler made of clay, which are filled with water and can be easily brought to happy chirping.


    Vogelpfeiferl Swazzle

    The Vogel-Pfeiferl is also very versatile. With this swazzle you can mimic the most varied birdsongs from the nightingale to the sparrows and it fits in every little pocket.


    The Chirping World of Birds

    A bird call effect whistle from France is used to imitate cuckoo and dove. The owl-call can be heard from differently sized Wooden Owls. There are also musical instruments that imitate tawny owls, blackbirds, geese, crows and many more.


    Wind Machine

    Our effects instrument for wind noise was actually used quite conventionally by ornithologists as a lure for jays or magpies. But we've already seen children summon the most powerful storms with it. ;-)


    The Most Beautiful Instruments for Children

    In addition to the bird calls and effect instruments you will find more exciting and playful sounds for young and old in our shop, e.g. shakers, nose flutes, sheep's voices, tambourines, crack insects and ocarinas, just to name a few.

    >> Link to our Webshop >>


    The DAN MOI Team wishes you a lot of fun warbling on International Children's Day

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