music to my ears

We are getting very close to the Jewish New Year. The devout go to the synagogue every morning, very early… before the prayers, to do a bit of collective soul searching… reading verses which have been called, the ‘verses of repentance’ for generations now.


For those who are less devout, this is a good time for celebration. Last night we had a wonderful gathering here in Jerusalem, and I plan to write more about it, and share some pictures with you on Friday. But meantime, a little something I saw for the first time last night… a musical instrument that comes from Africa. It’s a rhythm instrument. One of the balls contains seeds, and produces a very soft tone, when you shake it, and the other has a little stick going through it, with a ball at both ends, and when you shake it, it gives a sharp little knock. There was much music last night.



51 responses to “music to my ears

  1. I love the picture with Nechama draped in the background. An interesting instrument Shimon.

    • Thank you Chillbrook. I had just finished taking a picture of the instrument, and Nechama has been watching me take the picture. She got bored and went to the window sill, and it was then I saw a picture I liked even better. Glad you liked it too.

  2. I love the reflections in the polished surface of the table. A beautiful picture that ‘restores my soul’. I’ve never come across that musical instrument before – do you happen to know which tribe it comes from, or which part of Africa?

    We use the penitential Psalms too, especially during the Lent fast before Easter. Best wishes for a wonderful celebration.

    • Thank you very much, Gill. A lot of people asked questions about it, and I got not answers, but since writing this post, I got a comment a little further down, which tells the story by the inventor of the instrument. Very interesting to hear that we share the penitential Psalms too.

  3. Interesting how many different instruments people have created. I haven’t seen one like that before. Nechema looks so comfortable. 🙂 Blessings to you as the new year approaches.

    • Thank you for your blessings, Frank. I love music, and used to play quite a bit when I was younger. In my life, I’ve gotten to know a great many musical instruments, and many that I love. This was a new one for me. I plan to write a bit about what the holiday means for us, at the end of the week. Yes, that is one of Nechama’s favorite hang outs.

  4. In case I don’t write you later, Shanah Tova U’metuka! May it be a peaceful year for you, Jerusalem and Israel!

  5. Lovely photos: peace and joy to your New Year, Shimon!

  6. Nechama looks incredibly relaxed there, is that her leg hanging down?
    That is a beautiful pic!
    I’ve never seen an instrument like that before and I collect odd instruments, I’d love to have a go! The markings are lovely.
    Looking forward to hearing more, have a wonderful celebration.xxxxx

    • Yes, this is one of Nechama’s favorite places, and she does like to let one leg hang down when she sits there. I’m hoping to write a bit more about our holiday on Friday. The time seems to be rushing by.

  7. Love this pic! You should enter it into Canon’s Project Imaginat10n

    • Thank you very much for coming by. I don’t think I’ve ever entered such a competition. It’s just something that doesn’t attract me. But thanks for the suggestion anyway. I’m glad you appreciated the picture.

  8. I like hearing about the traditions of the Jewish New Year…look forward to hearing more! Many happy blessings for the New Year.

  9. what an interesting instrument!

  10. Interesting instrument and I love the photo with the table. Your cat in the background is nice too. Music is such a wonderful thing–and there are so many fascinating instruments. One of the things I most love about travel is experiencing different music.

    • I too love music, Jordan. It seems a language that speaks to the soul. Glad you liked the picture with the cat. She takes part in almost everything I do. But she got bored watching me photograph the instrument, and found a good place to sit and wait for me to be finished with it.

  11. I’ve never seen this instrument before either. Wonderful composition in the first image. Shana Tova to you.

  12. Your page-break seemed amusing to me. Thanks for sharing the instrument. Never saw or heard of it.

  13. OK: the jig is up.Everyone want to know more about the unusual instrument in the photo. I have to admit that I invented it. The sales were pretty slow, so I sold it to a trader heading for Burkina Faso and he introduced it. The natives thee didn’t think much of it, so they decided to sell it to tourists as a traditional instrument used by the Burkina Fason princes as they announced their chosen new brides. Because of the usage, the instrument was called the “Bridelhollercaller.” Very few people have actually ever heard of it.

    • Well, it’s a great pleasure to meet the inventor of the instrument, and to learn a bit more about it. What I liked most was that held one way, you would only hear the sound of the seeds hitting the inside of the ball, and held another way, you would also get the percussion sounds of the balls. A very good instrument. Have you made any more instruments?

  14. What an engaging photograph, Shimon. So complex, with all the shadow and reflection, very beautiful! I love that your kitty found a place in the picture too. I look forward to hearing more on Friday.

  15. I only found this by chance.. didn’t get the mail…
    I believe many years ago I saw an instrument like this but simpler.
    It;s a beautiful photograph.I’ll check my notifications but I don’t think it came yesterday.

    • You should have gotten the notification from wordpress, Kathryn. I don’t remember every percussion instrument I’ve seen, but I think this one is new to me. Glad you like the picture.

  16. Reblogged this on katzideas and commented:
    An intriguing musical instrument with photos

  17. Aside from being able to share in the words that come from your gentle heart, I think the greatest enjoyment I have in visiting with you, Shimon, is that I am able to participate, even from afar, in the rich culture that informs your life…a richness that transcends the shallow materialism that seems to permeate so many aspects of our lives over here. Thank you for sharing as you do….

    • It is my pleasure to share, Scott. I have to say, that I am always grateful for my life here in Jerusalem. We’re a very small people, who speak a language that almost no one in the world understands, so in a way, I feel it’s a privilege to share a little of our lives here… and get to know people in far away places. I’m glad we had the opportunity to meet, and to exchange a bit about our experiences.

  18. what a beautiful photo of Nechama. I like how you described to Chillbrook, the story of her being bored 😉 She’s a character.

  19. I love that first photo Shimon. The room looks very relaxing, as Nechama seems to think also.

    • Thank you very much, Angeline. Yes, I have lived in my home for more than forty years now… my children were little children here once, and I’m very grateful for my home, and all that surrounds it…

  20. As ever a delightful and engaging read Shimon. Music for my eyes.

  21. Cats are crazy, they can sleep and stand on such a strange places… 🙂 Nechama made me smile again… I love your lovely cat dear Shimon. I know this instrument because of my husband, he has too… Thank you, have a nice weekend and Blessing and Happiness to you both, love, nia

    • It is really a very nice instrument. How nice that you have already encountered it, Nia. I have just recently installed a special door for Nechama, a cat door, and it was quite a job to convince her to use it. She preferred for me to open the front door for her. But like yourself, I have a lot of patience for cats. Always such a pleasure to hear from you.

  22. I like both pictures and find the instrument intriguing. Looking forward to hearing more about the celebration.

  23. I like your photographs very much, particularly the first one. Best wishes for the new year.

  24. Fascinating subject. The first photograph is a beautiful composition. The mood and lighting are very effective. The second shot displays the musical instrument and makes use of natural colours & textures to great effect.

  25. Superb picture of the beautiful Nechame. X

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