These Musicians Play Instruments Made of Vegetables

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Jason Brown/Zota via Flickr

From the impressive Vienna Vegetable Orchestra to hand-carved pipes and whistles in Japan, these creative people know how to find music anywhere, even in the crisper.

Playing with your food isn’t such a bad thing when it means making music. As crazy as it sounds, there are individuals and groups who use fresh vegetables to make instruments, which they then play and perform around the world. Modern Farmer points out that vegetables have a few qualities that make them ideal for turning into instruments:

“They’re cheap, readily available, many (especially root vegetables like carrots and turnips) can be easily carved and whittled, and the vision of someone blowing into a carved stick of celery with his nostrils will never not be fun. They do, of course, not last nearly as long as, say, the hardwood from which a clarinet is usually fashioned, which means vegetable musicians have to continually create new instruments.” (And can make soup afterward.)
Modern Farmer posted multiple links to vegetable-playing musicians in an article called “Need a New Hobby? We Recommend Playing Musical Vegetables

The Vegetable Orchestra from Vienna is the most famous, founded in 1998 and still going strong. The ensemble plays everything from Free Jazz to beat-oriented House tracks, and is committed to “the further exploration and refinement of performable vegetable music.” I love the guy playing leek violin.

Another amusing vegetable musician is Junji Koyama, a Japanese man who searches the local market for suitable vegetables to carve and usually eats his instruments at the end of each performance. He uploads videos of himself to YouTube playing unusual creations such as a radish ocarina, a carrot slide whistle, a celery nose flute, and a cabbage. It is less riveting than the Vegetable Orchestra, but still highly amusing. Here he is playing "Amazing Grace" on a cabbage.

In a short TEDx talk, Australian Linsey Pollack argues that "music should not be left in the hands of the experts." He provides basic instruction for turning a carrot into a clarinet, using a funnel and a saxophone mouthpiece. Who knew? The look of shock on the audience’s faces when Pollack first blows into the clarinet and get an enormous, rich, deep sound is amazing.