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Vegetable Orchestra Developing Gourd Guitars

Hot & Cool Food Trends

Have you heard about the Vegetable Orchestra? Checked them out on YouTube yet? It is just as the name implies: an orchestra that plays music using fresh vegetables.

Talk about playing with your food.

But the men and women in this one-of-a-kind Vienna-based ensemble take their music quite seriously. Well, they don’t play it for laughs anyway. The group has been around for 13 years, playing its experimental pieces to audiences in concert halls across the globe.

They play a diverse variety—everything from contemporary music to electronic, free jazz to beat-oriented House tracks—using instruments made from such tasty choices as carrots, cucumbers, pumpkins, cabbage and bell peppers. As an encore at the end of a Vegetable Orchestra concert, the audience is offered fresh vegetable soup.

Now the orchestra is working with scientist Wolfgang Palme from the Horticultural College and Research Institute Schönbrunn to create new veggie instruments. Specifically, the group hopes Palme can develop vegetables that can be used as trumpets and guitars.

Palme thinks gourds would be a good choice for both instruments, partly because they can be dried for repeated use. He purchased seeds from special growers that grow in trumpet- and guitar-like shapes, and is now raising them in his garden. The orchestra members have also made plaster casts of trumpet shapes, and bought an inexpensive ukulele to use as a guitar mold. Palme says he will likely use the strong fibers from cucumber or melon plants for the guitar strings. We'll keep our fingers crossed that it all comes together in sweet harmony.

Here’s a clip from one of the group’s performances.

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