Buying Musical Gifts
I purchase odd and exotic musical instruments for my brother because he teaches music and they make fine conversation pieces. Most recently I bought something called a gopichand or ektara. It is a one-stringed instrument played mostly in India but also in Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh. At one time the instrument was made out of a gourd and with animal gut strings. Nowadays, the entire instrument is usually made of metal. It is a traditional instrument that is held upright and plucked. Flexing the neck of the instrument makes it possible to modulate the tone. The instrument comes in soprano, tenor and bass sizes. It is often used in Hindu devotional music. Also, it is used in Baul music. The Bauls are mystic minstrels who practice a variety of religions, mostly hindu and sufi muslim, and are known for their distinct musical style. Their music celebrates celestial love in earthy terms.