Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Harmonipan

Harmonipan players are an institution in Mexico City. They seem to be a kind of organized panhandling. All the operators wear identical khaki uniforms, slightly military, but with no insignias. Forrest conjectured that they rent their instruments and uniforms and keep the take.

They ask for tips with their hats. Kind of like Real Change newspaper? Anybody know?

From an online source: Turning the handle on this hand-cranked organ operates a bellows that enable the pipes to sound. The bellows passes air to the "reader" (I think like a player piano roll), and where there's a hole in the tape, air passes through the corresponding pipe. This street organ has origins in Berlin in the early 19th century.

It sounds like an organ-grinder's organ – no monkey, fortunately.

They are gorgeous.

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