You may recall that in the film To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall famously reminds Humphrey Bogart how to whistle: you just put your lips together and blow. And that is indeed how most of us do it. But not Hungarian whistling sensation Hacki Tamás, who, back in the 1960s, delivered some pitch-perfect Mozart by not *exactly* following Bacall's advice.
Whistled Turkish is a non-conformist. Most obviously, it bucks the normal language trend of using consonants and vowels, opting instead for a bird-like whistle. But more importantly, it departs from other language forms in a more fundamental respect: it's processed differently by the brain.
The Panamanian golden frog that lives near loud waterfalls and the people of both Kuşköy (a small village in Turkey) and La Gomera (an island off the coast of Morocco) have something in common: creative communication in challenging situations. Where the golden frogs communicate by waving, the people of Kuşköy and La Gomera overcome difficult terrain by whistling. The Turkish people call their language "kuș dili" or "bird langage," as it originated in Kuşköy, which itself means "bird village," and the Silbo Gomero language is so organized and thorough that every vowel and consonant can be replaced with a whistle. [more inside]
Ditching School to Whistle is a delightful 15-minute look at some absolutely amazing whistlers who converge yearly on the little town of Louisburg, North Carolina. To whistle. [more inside]
Geert Chatrou is a whistling maestro. Mozart's Queen of the Night | Czardas Monti. Other amazing whistling and whistlers inside. [more inside]
Dog Videos... Just what it says on the tin.
Freeman Davis, better known as Brother Bones, was a whistler and player of the bones. As his story goes, he started in Montgomery, Alabama, hearing his mother whistle. He made his way to Long Beach, California, where he was a shoe-shining entertainer called Whistling Sam. Somewhere along the way, he gained popularity with the bones as Brother Bones, leading a group called Brother Bones and His Shadows, as heard here in Rosetta and Listen To The Mockingbird. Their 1948 instrumental version of the 1920s jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown was chosen as the theme song for the Harlem Globetrotters. Brother Bones was also featured in the blackface minstrel show movie, Yes Sir, Mr. Bones. Freeman Davis died in 1970, and in 2002 he was paid tribute at the Rhythm Bones Society's Bones Fest 6, honoring the 100th anniversary of his birth. [more inside]
Whistling: a lost art? Once upon a time, siffleurs like Brother Bones, Fred Lowery and Marcel ‘Muzzy’ Marcellino warbled from the stage, and trilled across the airwaves. While our generation almost certainly whistles less than our grandparents’, and while we may never again see a whistler attain the modest fame of Ronnie Ronalde, let alone the celebrity of la belle siffleuse Alice Shaw, nor witness any meaningful revival of the kunstpfeifen tradition, there are yet several contemporary whistlers who would revive the art: ‘Whistlin’ Tom,’ Sean Lomax, Robert Stemmons (‘the whistler of Coeur d’Alene’), Hylton ‘The Whistler’ Brown, Chris Ullman (‘the symphonic whistler’) and Milt Briggs (‘a maverick among whistlers’), etc., or any number of the other enthusiasts who attend the International Whistlers Convention held every year at Loiusburg, North Carolina, ‘the world’s whistling capital.’