Mark your calendars, folks: it was 35 years ago today that the Charlie Daniels Band released their immortal classic “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, a song that I think I might be kind of obsessed with: this is my sixth post on tumblr dedicated in some way to Charlie Daniels.
Several years ago, I was in a hurry to get somewhere–I don’t remember the exact circumstances, only that it was a genuinely important deadline I was trying to make–and in heavy downtown traffic, running late, and I switched to a random radio station, which was in that very moment right in the middle of playing the song’s frantic mid-section breakdown, and it made everything seem so much more urgent and stressful. I do not recommend.
- Materials: [nondescript] Wood, ivory, gut?, metal - Length: 66 cm - Strings: [unlisted] 4 playing [gut?], 16+ sympathetic [metal] - Other Notes: A fiddle of northern India and surrounding regions. Some recordings of this instrument can be heard in this short biographic article of Munir Sarhadi, a master of the sarinda.
Self-Portrait with Death as a Fiddler (1872). Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, 1827-1901). Oil on canvas. Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.
Death is playing on the lowest string, tuned to G, which is here the only string on the fiddle. The painter, alert, has paused in his work. According to the story, Böcklin only painted in the figure of Death in response to friends asking him to what he was listening. This relates to the search for the ultimate, and the inspiration drawn from the proximity of death.