My little Turkish banjo bedwarmer


January 8, 2008, by Suzanne

You know, I have been eying an adorable little banjo-mandolin in a local instrument shop for probably close to 3 years now. It’s an instrument that is tuned and played like a mandolin, but looks and sounds like a banjo. This one’s got a metal body and is stamped around the rim with the words Turkiye and Istanbul. It’s just so cute and exotic, and since I already play a bit of mandolin, it would be a natural for me to take it up and add some variety to my playing.

So over Christmas I received some money as a gift, and just this once, rather than play the Scrooge on myself and pay a bill, I let myself actually walk into the shop and buy it. It had other symbolic meaning for me, and I had waited so long to buy it, I even shed a few happy tears as I gave it its welcome-home drive. I think it likes me too 🙂

Well, that thing has been a lot of fun to play. It’s loud and obnoxious like a banjo is supposed to be, and my kids like it. My one son says it looks like a pot I could boil water in, and his grandmother laughed too and says it looks like one of those antique bed warmers. Hah! But they all like my playing on it.

Lucky me, I found it online so I could show it to you:

Turkish Banjo Mandolin

It’s really just the right size for a woman to play, too – barely 12 inches diameter, and the body is really deeper than shows in this photograph, giving it its metal pot look. It’s a working conversation piece, and I plan on playing it at an upcoming open band contra dance, heh heh heh… Up to now, I’ve been playing mandolin-style on a kobza, an elegant but not loud 4-string Ukrainian instrument. But now folks are in for quite a surprise because they will be suddenly able to hear me above the crowd 🙂 Yeah!