A fourth and final (for the moment) post on the Madeiran instruments which are the fore-runners of the ukulele, the machete (braguinha)and the rajao, and on the Madeiran luthier who is still building them. If you read my last few posts, you'll know that last week I was fortunate and privileged to visit the workshop of the highly esteemed Madeiran luthier Carlos Jorge Pereira Rodrigues in Funchal, Madeira.
I haven't said much about the rajao in my posts as yet, but actually it's the rajao that has the most in common with the ukulele, because of the way it's tuned.
About the size of a concert uke, it has 5 strings; strings 1-4 are GCEA exactly like the ukulele, and the 5th string is tuned to D (2nd fret of the C string.) In fact, Dan Scanlan writes here that there are real grounds for believing that it was the rajao, not the machete, that was adapted to become the ukulele, simply by the removal of the 5th string! Do read that article, it's very interesting!
And here is this amazing instrument being played by two of the very best players of the braguinha and rajao! Roberto Moniz and Roberto Moritz. I don't seem to be able to embed it, it's on vimeo. Just give the link a click. It's delightful.
There are several videos on Youtube and vimeo by these two superb players. Here's Roberto Moniz playing an original piece on a rajao built by Carlos.
And if your appetite for "uke porn" has been whetted, just look at these beautiful instruments!
I've learned a lot about these Madeiran instruments over the last few days. I hope you've enjoyed reading about them and listening to them too. Thanks for dropping in!