The Vegetable Orchestra Carves Remarkable Instruments From Fresh Produce

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Imagine a recorder made of a hollowed-out carrot, a guitar carved from celery. Using knives and drilling machines, the one-of-a-kind Vegetable Orchestra constructs their instruments entirely from fresh and dried vegetables, mimicking the sounds of everything from bass drums to airy flutes. Because the Vienna-based band works with organic materials that perish or dry out after a single performance or recording session, they must continually create and reinvent the tools of the medium.

The group currently has thirteen members. Since its inception in 1998, The Vegetable Orchestra has been dedicated to incorporating the talents of musicians, visual artists, writers, and designers, all of whom have equal say and contribute to a unique multimedia experience. The aesthetic figures prominently into the work, and the rich colors of the fresh instruments is given much thought. With their unusual instruments, orchestra hopes to draw out and make visible the vitality and potential of the natural world.

The Vegetable Orchestra travels around the world, creating immersive artistic spaces; at concerts, they play music, screen video performances, and offer audience members a fresh bowl of tasty vegetable soup that they charmingly refer to as the edible “encore.” The orchestra’s sound is certainly unlike anything we have ever heard. Though many instruments—like the pepper horn and the pumpkin drum— nearly replicate the sounds of familiar instruments, others sound entirely foreign. Inspired by seemingly discordant styles like house music, dub, electronic, and free jazz, the orchestra draws inspiration from diverse sources, composing syncopated pieces that are both chaotic and restrained. (via Juxtapoz and Lost at E Minor)

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