Violins made of kelp?

What happens when a violinist who’s also a seaweed expert meets a couple of inventors who like a challenge?

Emily Sheppard is a Tasmanian-based violinist and composer. Emily also holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and an honours degree in marine science, specialising in seaweed. 

After hearing Emily Sheppard and fellow-musician Yyan Ng play a composition inspired by the flowing movements of seaweed, a friend Roger Bodley joked with Emily about making a violin from kelp. The joke became a challenge and Roger’s friend Chris Henderson joined him in attempting this seemingly impossible task. Between them, Roger and Chris have now made several kelp instruments, with varying characteristics in terms of tone and longevity (unfortunately, anything made of kelp keeps trying to return to its original rather wavy shape).

If this story has piqued your curiosity, watch the interview with Roger and Chris, and hear the violins being played in the videos below.

(If you’re wondering what this story has to do with Victorian chamber music, the Continuo Connect editor saw the violin, heard the story, and was so intrigued she felt she had to share.)