Music from Bicycles

During our trip we slowly discovered the musical potential of bicycles. We started to put our bikes on the stage and playing on them during our concerts. We gradually also had more and more ideas of music instruments, using bicycle parts as the main material. However, with us always on the move and neither time on our hands , nor the tools or the space to put these ideas into reality, we just continued to make sketches and write down our ideas.

But in Iran we finally got the opportunity to work on this project for a extended time period. The Rah residency program kindly supported us with a place to stay and organizing several events. Also we met Sadra and his bicycle activist group Bazcharkh, whose studio is at the same time a bicycle workshop, where he repairs people’s bikes for free on every tuesday. When he heard about our project he was instantly interested, and we started a fruitful cooperation.

He and his neighbours were helping us a lot, with all the tools, ideas, food and helping hands. In the end we organized a big fest in the park where the studios are situated. It was an exhibition of our musical instruments, but there was also a little jam and people where invited to play on the instruments. Also Sadra built a blender that was powered by a bicycle, so people could make their own fruit juices on the spot! It was a really fun event, with cyclists, children and artists coming alike. And we are very happy to be given this opportunity and about all the support we received during our time in Tehran.

This windchime from scrocket wheels (the gears in the back) was our first creation and maybe one of my favourites. The sound is really nice!
Hard at work!
Sadra Wejdani built this awesome pedal-powered blender, where everyone could make their own fruit juices.
捕夢樹 – “dreamcatch tree”
Pet wheels
This Kalimba was especially popular, with often several persons surrounding it and playing it together.
A kind of “rubber wind”, where the balloon serves as a reed and the pitch is steplessly variable with a long slit, which can be covered by a long piece of bicycle tube.
We also set up a map of our route so far, adding photos from our trip and our concerts before.
A bicycle frame we turned into a kind of harp, using beverage cans and a cute bucket from the trash as resonators.
Mr Mejid, our carpenter neighbour was always caring for us. He often came in with cold water, melon pieces or chips. He also has a machine which is a tape player, a radio, a fan and a lamp in one device! On it he played to us his 20 year old records of Jean-Michael Jarre and Tangerine Dream as well as some Eurodance. All of them were super worn out and were changing the pitch all the time, which made for an additional experience.
This one-stringed instrument is a mix of many bicycle parts, including V-breaks, the fork, one pedal and a breakwire as a string. Which, by the way is not very good as a string, but it fits the theme 😉
Close up of the “bridge”.
Close up of the “neck”.
After sharing some details about our trip in a bicycle expo earlier this month, we received something like an award. We used it as a base to make some kind of kalimba, using spokes from the wheels for the metal tongues.
Hsiang-Hsin using her 呼拉鼓 – “Huladrum” to jam with Saied and his Tar, an traditional iranian string instrument.
This instrument, based on plastic bottles in which we inserted the valves of bicycle tubes, to be able to tune them , were particularly popular.
Not just children played on them, but everyone wanted to try this wearable instrument out. And actually it is even possible to play it with more than one person, as you can see here.
With the run for the 呼拉鼓 , it was good we installed some extra bottles by the side, so nobody got hurt in a fight over the instrument 😉
Not really the intended use, but… creative 😀

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