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date: 15 November 2019

Svaramlocked

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Instrument-making centre and research institute in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India. Auroville, an idealistic and holistic international community devoted to education and fostering spiritual awareness, was founded in 1968 through the efforts of Mirra Alfassa, a French-born devotee of Sri Aurobindo. The Svaram workshop was initiated there in 2003 by Aurelio, an Austrian instrument maker who arrived in Auroville in 1985 and began a cooperative vocational training programme for unemployed youth from the region. With grant support, they formed the nucleus of the increasingly independent Svaram enterprise, which nowadays produces for commercial distribution a wide range of instruments based on traditional and new designs. The instruments are generally simple types used in elementary education and music therapy, such as box zithers, flutes, panpipes, drums, rattles, scrapers, xylophones, metallophones, and wind chimes, meant to appeal to all ages, especially children. A particular speciality are Klangsteine (‘singing stones’), sculptural lithophones developed by the Salzburg-based musician Klaus Fessman, that exploit a type of granite found around Auroville. The polished granite rocks, weighing from 20 to 200 kg, are shaped and sawn vertically part way through in parallel cuts to form connected slabs that vibrate when rubbed by moistened fingers. Production of these at Svaram is overseen by Fessman’s son Hannes Fessman....

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