I am a huge fan of going to restaurants and bars that can offer more than just staring at the empty chair in front of me. Or my date. I don’t always go to places alone! Moving on…I especially love live music, and the most common types of live performers are usually a cover band of some kind (unless you have a venue that caters to original music fans), a small group of two or three with guitars or keyboards, or the solo performer with an acoustic guitar or keyboard. Or a DJ, but unless they do something cool like their own mash-ups, they can be found almost anywhere.
But this (the video below) is truly unique. That is called a Stick. More specifically, a Chapman Stick. It was designed by Emmett Chapman, who was looking to design a single instrument that could handle chords, rhythms, and melodies on one instrument (the technical term would be polyphonic chordal). It has between eight to 12 strings and the strings tapped against the fretboard, not strummed like a guitar. As you watch the video below, you’ll see that the method of playing is similar to a piano in the way one hand plays a rhythm while the other plays a melodic line.
Very few musicians (nicknamed ‘Stickmen’) play the instrument, let alone play it well. The most notable is probably Tony Levin, who plays bass for King Crimson. The video features Rob Martino, who released an album of songs using his Chapman Stick a couple of years ago. This is a great instrument to have for a venue such as a restaurant for many reasons. For one, it’s incredibly dynamic, making a variety of chords easily, but it’s still subdued enough to not overpower your guests’ evening. Plus, it isn’t nearly as bulky as a keyboard, piano, or even a harp. Plus, just the unique ability to say you have a musician playing such an instrument may draw a crowd, and if they’re good at it like this guy, you’ll get some attention.
This is Rob Martino’s original “One Cloud.”
One Fat Frog • 2416 Sand Lake Road • Orlando, FL 32809 • 407-480-3409