The Adventures of Bouzouki Banzai

This morning, during sound check and run-through, a member of the band left to retrieve what I was told would be “an obscure ethnic instrument”.

He did not fail to impress.

The Bouzouki (pronounced kind of like bazooka, but ending with an ee sound) is somewhat like a cross between the banjo and the mandolin – which makes me wonder why they didn’t just call it the Banjolin.  Or, at the very least, the Manjo.

In fact, I actually prefer Manjo. Considering who was actually playing the instrument I’d say Manjo is quite apropos.  I wouldn’t call the instrumentalist a professional Bouzoukist, per se. I wouldn’t even go as far to call him a Bouzouki enthusiast. He probably just dabbles in the Bouzouki. Maybe his friends introduced him to the Bouzouki in college… they passed the Bouzouki around… listened to some Frank Zappa

The bouzouki is a predominantly Greek instrument. However, in Turkish, the name roughly translates to “broken, not functioning” – which means more when you consider the translation comes from the culture that gave us the bağlama.

Therefore, henceforth, the bouzouki shall be Manjo; and Manjo shall be it’s name.

All joking aside the bouzouki actually had a really nice sound (like a mandolin, but an octave lower) and fit the one song it was used in really well. Granted, it was a slower song – which was nice – because I’d hate to go as far as to say he rocked the Manjo.


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