Make sure you know your Kloo horns from your Fanfars before you apply to Jabba’s Palace!
Ever wanted to front your own Jatz Band? Think you’ve got what it takes to join Max Rebo on an interplanetary tour across a galaxy far, far away? Well before you decide to join the musical hall of fame along with Sy Snootles, Droopy McCool and Figrin D’an and his Modal Nodes, you’re going to need to read up on what instruments you’ll need before playing live on a Sail Barge over the pit of Carkoon or busting out a Bandfill solo at your local cantina.
For those of you who think we’ve completely lost our minds here, I’m referring to the most famous musicians in the Star Wars galaxy. In honour of some new film being released this week – I think it’s called The Force Awakens or something – we’re looking at the instruments some of our favourite Star Wars band members use, and how you can get their sound!
“Fiery” Figrin D’an was a famous Jatz musician and male Bith who first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope playing in the Mos Eisley cantina. The band, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes were famous across the galaxy for their hit, “Mad About Me” otherwise known as “Cantina Band” and can be heard playing when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan enter the wretched hive of scum and villainy looking for safe passage off Tatooine.
Front man and band leader Figrin was known for his skills with a Kloo Horn, a double-reeded wind instrument that measured about as long as 1.5 meters tall and was widely used by Jatz players – an upbeat swinging style of music that could possibly be compared to Polka or Jazz here on Earth.
The most notable feature of a Kloo Horn was its “S” shaped mouthpiece where players would change the tone and pitch with their fingers or mandibles. Widely used across the galaxy, a good quality Kloo Horn would cost around 2,000 New Republic Credits, just about enough to buy a X-34 Landspeeder from a desperate farmboy.
The closest that we currently have in stock to the Kloo Horn is probably this Buffet E13 Clarinet, perfect for getting the cantina rocking.
Red Ball Jett Keyboard
Max Rebo and his band are widely known for their residency at Jabba’s Palace and major hit “Jedi Rocks”, which can be heard just before Oola, a Twi’lek dancer, falls through Jabba’s trapdoor and is subsequently eaten by his pet Rancor. First appearing in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, Max and his band members Sy Snootles, Droopy McCool were Jabba’s in-house band after signing a lifetime contract – much to Snootles’ chagrin especially as payment was in the form of food rather than credits. Band politics aside, Rebo was a keen Nalargon/Red Ball Jett Keyboard player and public face of his band.
The Nalargon AKA Red Ball Organ was a circular keyboard like instrument with 22 keys. The player would sit in between two speaker-like cones, one an air intake, the other an output speaker, and depress the keys similar to an earth-like piano. The air outlets, intricate decorative objects, were found underneath the keys and would open when a player pressed the corresponding key.
Fortunately for the rest of his band, the contract/life of servitude was rendered null and void after Jabba’s demise at the hand (and chain) of Princess Leia.
If you are looking for your own, you can’t go too far wrong with the Nord Stage 2 EX Stage Piano.
Another very famous Bith musician went by the name of Tedn Dahai. Also a member of the Modal Nodes, Dahai was a professional Fanfar player and can be seen in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine along with his band mates. Due to his centered position on stage, he was often mistaken for the frontman of the group, yet it was of course Figrin D’an who was the band leader. His highly evolved brain encouraged a special ability to analyse and create music and his talents on the Fanfar were part of the reason why the Modal Nodes were so successful.
The Fanfar was a reed instrument smaller than the likes of a Kloo Horn and thinner than a Chindinkalu flute favoured by the likes of Droopy McCool from Max Rebo’s band. It was commonly used in Jatz bands and had a slightly curved mouthpiece which was easier for Bith musicians to use.
Farra slots allowed air to escape from the instrument and allowed the player to change the pitch, similar to a recorder or flute.
Tedn Dahai along with the rest of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes almost lost all of their instruments shortly after the trouble in Mos Eisley Cantina after wagering their instruments in a game of Sabacc, a favourite game of Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, yet managed to win them back and tour the intergalactic circuit.
To emulate the tones of a Fanfar, why not try the Yamaha YAS-280 Alto Saxophone?
About Lee Glynn
Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns.
After releasing two albums, a myriad of EP’s/singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery.
Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.
Here are some fun facts:
- Before moving to the UK, Lee used to host a radio show in Australia at the age of 18. Lee presented the unsigned bands segment at Twin Cities FM in Perth, WA.
- Sound Of Guns enjoyed a short but successful career in music with many of their songs being used in television adverts, sports channels and the extremely successful videos Road Bike Party and We are Not Crazy We are Amazing.
- He also can’t play bar chords due to an accident so learned to play power chords by studying Black Sabbath songs and Tony Iommi’s playing style.