The spike part: The spike sticks out of the bottom, so you can rest it on the ground or your leg or whatever.
REBAB : The spike fiddle is considered a rebab, which is part of the lute family, and typically has 2 or 3 strings. The word rebab is an Arabic term translated as bowed string instrument. It is closely associated with Islamic culture, and dates back to at least the 8th century. Its roots are probably in Arabia or Persia, and its influence has reached from Indonesia to Europe and Africa (it is thought to be the earliest ancestor of the violin).
There are two basic types of rebab: wooden fiddles with pear-shaped bodies, and spiked fiddles, named for the spike on the bottom of the instrument on which it stands while being played.
Spiked rebabs typically have no frets, but instead, the fingers of your left hand become movable bridges. ( I blatantly stole the above info from a website whose URL I did not copy at the time...sorry, don't sue me whoever you are.)
It can be a rather lo-fi instrument, as demonstrated by this article on how to make one out of a tin can. It's definitely one of those large, loosey-goosey instrument families. Read more at Wiki if you like - interesting history. Then there are people creating beautiful spike fiddles today.
I've been wanting to know more about that instrument for months, and finally got around to looking it up. OK.
"The mating of shamelessness and noise is one of the keys to this music’s charm," reports PopMatters . Or as the band's website puts it, "Mahala Rai Banda combines gypsy strings and accordion with a big brass section to deliver a high-speed, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners, no-remixed-needed session that reminds you of why gypsy music is the new punk rock." But hey, they have the chops to pull it off.
Edgier than their more established big Balkan brass compatriots like Kocani Orkester, Boban Markovich, or Fanfare Ciocarlia, the boys from the Mahala have put out another great party disc. I would hope fans of those artists who filter this genre through beats and samples (not that there's anything wrong with that!) like Shantel, the Balkan Beats crew, Beriut and Balkan Beat Box have prepped enough folks so there is a curiosity about and a market for the real thing. Wouldn't a U.S. tour be a wonder? Well, try this Romanian Mastercard commerical instead.
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Wow. Huh. Being a music gal, rather than a lyrics gal, I'm not really interested in hearing this, but somehow I think it's rather great that somebody did such a project at all.
Like The Red Tent meets Mateli.
So here's a fun older interview with Tellu, one of the architects of the Mateli project, for all you old Hedningarna fans.