A Match for Myanmar?
We’re joined by the much-loved, fast-talking father and son team Hans and Raffa.
Our introduction to the Industry’s shooting star Burma is exhilarating, and harsh. The sidewalks in our part of Yangon a treacherous puzzle of broken concrete, gaping holes and orange dirt, small mounds of garbage smoldering in the ditches; windowless, booked up 27 $ Hninzii Guesthouse an almost comical example for the law of supply and demand. And to top off the kaleidoscopic cultural disorientation, we’re overwhelmed by lovely, completely disarming smiles everywhere:
Some encounters feel like they were meant to be. EG owns a small guitar making workshop near Kandawgyi lake in Yangon. The soft glow of a collection of finished guitars drew us into the shop- and EG’s fascinating story kept us there.
A sailor out of necessity for two decades, his ships hauled metal parts between Amsterdam, Monrovia, Singapore and Kiel. EG’s life was dangerous and hard. Music, he recounts, was my joy and comfort, my lifesaver. With almost desperate determination, EG looked for a way to turn his life around, a way to make a living with music. He decided to invest 27 hard-earned dollars in a guitar-making book by Robert Benedetto and over 3 years built his first guitar, piece by piece, bit by bit. Whenever he’d saved a few dollars, he’d order a new part for his guitar. Carefully, painstakingly he assembled the instrument he calls “my teacher”.
EG is 60 now, a seasoned guitar maker, a gentle custodian of our planet. No tree dies for EG’s guitars. The wood for them is harvested only from fallen trees. Sadly, storm Nargis supplied wood for endless guitars- But could there be greater joy and meaning EG says, than to make something beautiful out of death and destruction?
We checked out the woods harvested from those trees, which sounds sweet, which bright, which big. We admired the shells that go into the making of the inlay. And we (say Raffa) ordered a custom-made sweet- sounding, (traveling) guitar! An EG Tiny, Cedar wood front.
Update with picture to follow, when the Tiny is finished.
Well, I never got the photo of the Guitar- R. is too busy practising. But here is EG’s contact info, (also see comments below)