Sunday, March 22, 2009

The obscures origins of "manualism"

With a tribute to the unique art of John Twomey.

It seems that all started in 1933, when a farmer named Cecill Dill traveled from Traverse City, Michigan, to Universal Studios in Hollywood to record his singular skill in a newsreel.

Mr.Dill claimed to play “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in a unheard form: by squeezing air thru his hands. He said to have started mastering his instrument by 1914.

Strangely, no traces seems to survive of this art during the golden age of vaudeville, music-hall and early TV. We have to wait the 70s and the arrival of John Twomey, who in 1974 took as a storm the millions of Americans watching Johnny Carson’s show, with his electryfying rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever”. It is to Mr.Twomey that seems credited the definition of “manualist”, a term that now dignifies and indicates a profession still rare but today relatively practiced in some outskirts of the musical constellation.

Today we offers you the sight of Mr.Dill’s first performance ever of manualism, and an excerpt of the legendary Twomey’s act on Carson’s. But expect more to come in future.

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