I have completed our bird and instrument for the letter M!
M is for Molly, whose mbira technique was to pluck with her toe instead of her beak!
When I was a kid, we had a little mbira. I'm not sure how we got it, but for whatever reason, I really loved playing around with it. Flash forward a decade or so, and mbiras came back into my life, when an artist friend would collect street sweeper brush blades that would break off, a routine event in their line of duty, and land near the curbs in the streets of Eugene. He would use them for various projects, including little mbiras for his kids. I started looking for street sweeper blades after that, and have amassed quite a collection of them, although I rarely have used them until now. I'm including a photo of what these blades look like so you can start looking for them. Anyhow, our mbira was hollow, so I assumed that my sculpture for the book wouldn't play, but to my surprise......
Fortunately, my version of the Happy Birthday song isn't close enough to be sued by the estate of Mildred and Patty Hill!
Here's my mbira playing Magpie!
This bird has iridescent green and blue feathers, which was really the big challenge of the project.
Magpies are one of the more intelligent not just birds, but animals on the planet, as it turns out. They are the only non-mammal species that can recognize itself in a mirror. And they mimic the stuff around them, as many YouTube videos will confirm. I'll leave you with my favorite: a British magpie named after soccer/football player Wayne Rooney who can properly introduce himself as such!