What is that bossa nova sound?
September 21, 2005 7:14 PM   Subscribe

What's that instrument you hear in some bossa nova songs that sounds either like a man wheezing or someone pulling a plastic straw through the top of a fast food soda cup?
posted by CrazyJoel to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
It's the CuĂ­ca.
posted by Danelope at 7:21 PM on September 21, 2005

Thanks for asking this question, CrazyJoel! I've been wondering the same thing.
posted by louigi at 7:45 PM on September 21, 2005

My gosh! I finally get to answer an 'ask mefi' question! The instrument in question is called a "cuica", pronounced "cooEEka". It actually looks like a bongo drum, but it is not used for percussion, you rub a stick on the inside of the drum skin, and control the tone and pitch by pressing in different places on the outside. It is a very funky Brazilian instrument!
posted by msali at 8:00 PM on September 21, 2005

interestingly (an aside)

Sean Meehan is an improvising musician in NYC who takes advantage of the same process to make gorgeous drone music - he rubs wooden dowls perpindicular to a snare drum, sometimes with a small cymbal in between to creat massive, beautiful overtones.

His new double cd is beautifully packaged in handmade paper you have to cut to access.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:08 PM on September 21, 2005

wow! thanks mefi! for all my google-fu I couldn't figure out how to find it.
posted by CrazyJoel at 8:23 PM on September 21, 2005

Is that the instrument I hear in "Me and Julio down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon?
posted by Wild_Eep at 6:48 AM on September 22, 2005

yes, wild eep. Check any samba school to learn more.
posted by zaelic at 8:02 AM on September 22, 2005

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