Every kid growing up in Pakistan is afraid of snakes, and mystified by the powers that the snake-charmer and his ‘bean’ (flute) exerts on the snake. I grew up with that same fear in my heart and mind, and the sound of a snake-charmers flute still gives me shivers.
I have no idea why I thought of snake-charmers today. Perhaps the day to day chores at job started to make me feel like the snake that dances in full-glory, oblivious to the reality that it is a mere captive of some else’s flute. But how can that be when my work is extremely exciting and motivating? That shall be the topic of another note some other day on how money (and those with money) ultimately have power over the entrepreneur :-).
The snake -charmer is the real master (the power to reconcile with if you are the snake), but the instrument he (usually a he) uses to control the snake is equally fascinating. If I could find an instrument like that to have as much control I could have so much power – it’s unfortunate that power breeds greed and corruption. hence, I am better off without such instruments.
Here’s some learning for the day (http://www.musicoutfitters.com/ethnic/snake_charmer_flute.htm):
Often called the snake charmer flute, the pungi is the snake charmer’s instrument. The instrument, a type of folk clarinet with two pipes, may have originated in the Middle East. It is the Indian brother of the Egyptian arghul, and designates a double clarinet very similar to the murali clarinet although with a larger register. The word “pungi” in the Indian language simply means “tube” or “pipe”, and is a generic term for many reeded noisemakers.
The pungi is typically one to two feet in length., and is made of bottle gourd or coconut which has been dried, resembling the shape of a light bulb. It consists of two reeds or bamboo tubes, one of which is for the melody and the other is for the drone. The two tubes can be made of different materials.
To play the pungi, or snake charmer flute, the musician needs to learn a technique called circular breathing, as the melodies normally do not allow for pauses. The snake charmer can be played for its interesting sounds or used as a decorative item and conversation piece. Snake not included (thank goodness).