April 11, 2017
Molly Lewis, one of the world's greatest whistlers, gives a lesson
From Atlas Obscura:
Sometimes, when Molly Lewis tries to explain her work as a whistler, she calls herself a human theremin. The tone and sound of whistling, she thinks, are similar to the unearthly vibrations of the early electronic instrument — a sound that people tend to recognize. "But whistling has a human quality, which I think is important," she says. "It's a mixture of natural and out of this world."
Lewis is one of the few musicians in the world who raise whistling to an art. In Los Angeles, where she's based, she performs live, as a session musician and on film soundtracks, though she doesn't always like to call herself a professional whistler, since it makes something she loves seem like too much like a job. "People don't understand what I do, unless I say I do it professionally," she says. "But it's so much more." There's a quote she likes, from Fred Lowery, a whistler from the 1930s: "Whistling is a magical gift, and there’s always a place in this world for magic."
In 2015, she won first place in the women's live band division at the Masters of Musical Whistling competition in Pasadena, California, which was created by Carole Anne Kaufman, the Whistling Diva, after the sponsor of the International Whistlers Convention announced that it would no longer support the competition.
You can see Molly Lewis whistle in Los Angeles on Obscura Day — May 6, 2017 — at Casa Larissa After Dark, when a "living, breathing cabinet of curiosities" will be opened up for a night of exploration and performance.
April 11, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink