Celery Songs: All About the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

Vegetables and music. What can be common between these two concepts? We can find the answer to the question in the musical vegetable orchestra – Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, which was founded in February 1998 in Vienna. The one-of-a-kind vegetable orchestra plays instruments made entirely from different fresh vegetables. 

Once upon a time, the idea to create an orchestra came to a group of enthusiastic musicians, each of whom gave himself to a certain musical style: from pop music and rock to classical and jazz. All musicians had their own projects and goals in their favorite field. But one thing is clear – they all wanted to find themselves in something special, in something that no one before them could do. The study of the sound world that surrounds us in everyday life, the search for new sounds, a new musical direction, new manifestations of emotions and feelings led to the creation of the world’s first vegetable orchestra. 

The Vegetable Orchestra is already a unique event. But it is also unique in that it has no leader. All members of the ensemble have the right to vote and their own point of view, their own specific approach to performance, equality reigns here. How did people with different backgrounds, with different educations (there are not only professional musicians in the orchestra, but also artists, architects, designers, writers and poets) manage to create something unique and grandiose? Probably, this is what is called – the secret of a large friendly team, full of enthusiasm and striving for one goal. 

It turns out that for the vegetables that are on our table, nothing is impossible to convey the sound of jazz, rock, pop music, electronic music and even classical music. Sometimes the sounds of vegetable instruments can be compared to the cries of wild animals, and sometimes they are not like anything at all. All musicians are sure that the sounds made by vegetable instruments cannot be reproduced using other instruments. 

So what kind of style of music is it, transmitted by vegetables that are familiar to us? Musicians call it that – vegetable. And in order to describe the sound of unusual musical instruments, we can only advise one thing – it is better to hear once than to read 100 times.


What is most interesting is that a musical concert is pleasant not only for our ear, but also for the stomach. Doesn’t that sound weird? The thing is that at the end of the performance, the audience is offered to evaluate the mastery of the culinary art of the chef of the musical troupe. Especially for the spectators who came to the concert, a soup made from freshly prepared vegetables will be served. At the same time, just as each musical performance is distinguished by the novelty of sounds and instruments, so vegetable soup is always unique and has its own zest. 

 The artists should be given their due: they not only bring variety to the art of music, it is also “art without waste”: part of the vegetables that are used to create instruments is used to make vegetable soup, and the instruments themselves are presented to the audience at the end of the performance, and those in turn, they decide: to keep a pipe of carrots as a keepsake or to eat it with great pleasure. 

How does the vegetable concert begin? Of course, from the most important thing – from the manufacture of musical instruments, the technique of which depends directly on the vegetable on which the musicians are going to play. So, a tomato or a leek violin is already ready to perform and does not require any preliminary work. And it will take about 13 minutes to create a cucumber wind instrument, making a flute from carrots will take about 1 hour. 

All vegetables must be fresh and of a certain size. This is exactly the main difficulty of the orchestra during the tour, because not everywhere you can find fresh vegetables of good quality, and even a certain size. Artists pay special attention to the choice of vegetables, because it is impossible to play on withered cucumbers or very small pumpkins, and besides, the instruments can deteriorate and break at the most inopportune moment – during a performance, which is unacceptable for such a unique orchestra. Artists usually choose vegetables not in stores, but in the markets, because, in their opinion, the acoustic properties of vegetables can be disturbed due to their storage in vacuum packaging. 

The requirements for the quality of vegetables also depend on their purpose: for example, a carrot root for a drumstick must be large in size, and for making a flute it must be medium in size and of a certain structure. Another problem that artists face is the drying and shrinkage of vegetable instruments during performances under the influence of light and high temperature, so they try to maintain a certain temperature and light regime in the concert hall. Improvement of musical instruments and their expansion is ongoing. So, the first vegetable tool was the tomato in 1997. 

Artists are constantly inventing new and improving old instruments, sometimes combining innovative ideas with already classic ones, resulting in new sounds being born. At the same time, the orchestra tries to preserve permanent sounds, for example, carrot rattles, which is necessary to create their own works of art, for which their own musical notation has already been created. The tours of this group are scheduled almost “per minute”. At the same time, musicians like to play in places with an open-minded audience, with a good atmosphere, in halls with good acoustics – it can be a concert or theater hall, an art gallery. 

Musicians believe that there are many opportunities for vegetable music in many different places. At the same time, they take their music seriously: they do not like to play in the context of comedy, as well as during commercial events. 

So why all the same vegetables? You can’t find anything like it anywhere else in the world, only in Australia there’s a man named Linsey Pollack doing vegetable concerts, but there’s no orchestra anywhere else. 

“Vegetables are something that you can not only hear, but also feel and taste. There is no limit to the variety of vegetables: different colors, sizes, local differences in varieties – all this allows you to improve sounds and expand your musical creativity, ”the musicians say. Art and, in particular, music can be created from everything, each thing contains a melody, the sound of which is unique. You just need to listen and you can find sounds in everything and everywhere …

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