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The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Rhythm Bones: Teaching the ancient art to students

By Alicia Stanek

Rhythm bones, one of the oldest known percussion instruments, have influenced music through all time periods.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, a rhythm bones workshop will be held in the Beaumier Heritage Center. Taught by musician Randy Seppala, “Da Bones Man,” the workshop will be in two parts. The first part will show participants how to make their own rhythm bones, and the second part will show them how to play the bones that they have made.

Harp, Hart and Bones is a blues band trio that has been performing their music around the Marquette & Upper Peninsula area, as well as doing workshops on the traditional rhythm bones for many years.

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The trio consists of “Fast Eddie” Consolmagno on vocals and harmonica, Bill Hart on vocals and guitar and Seppala on rhythm bones, cajon, washboard, snare and bass drum.

“There are usually at least three percussion instruments in one group,” Hart said.

Seppala has played with dozens of groups in the Upper Peninsula, but is known for the bones he makes and plays all over the United States. He is one of the leading players of the rhythm bones in the United States and is a native of the U.P.

“Rhythm bones are one of the oldest folk instruments and are commonly played throughout North America by traditional music groups,” Seppala said.

Jim Lohmann, a decorative wood carver and a maker/player of the rhythm bone, said rhythm bones are a pretty universal procession instrument that can be played with many different types of music.

Lohmann has also sold many bones overseas and said that each culture has their own way of playing the bones. When making bones and selling them it is important to know what type of sound the wood will make. Some wood has a loud piercing or shrilling noise and others have a quiet, mellow sound.

Every year the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University puts on the Folk Life Festival for a weekend. This year, the Folk Life Festival is an on going event. It consists various activities for students and residents of Marquette to participate in.

Dan Truckey, the director of the Upper Peninsula Heritage Center and folk singer and songwriter said he hopes students come to the workshop because the bones is one of the oldest instruments in the world and would be a really fun and versatile instrument to learn.

“It will be a great opportunity for students to learn a really cool percussion instrument,” Truckey said.

The Rhythm Bones workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the Beaumier Heritage Center. It costs $5 for adults and $2 for students. For more information or to make reservations, call the Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center at (906) 227-3212.

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