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The Kid Should See This

Buffy Sainte-Marie demonstrates the mouth bow

“In any situation where you have hunters, sooner or later, the musician in the tribe is gonna figure out how to make music with a hunting bow,” Buffy Sainte-Marie explains as she introduces the the mouth bow. The Indigenous Canadian-American singer-songwriter also demonstrates the instrument’s sound with a verse from a song called Uncle Joe. Via Britannica:

[The mouth bow] uses the mouth as a resonator; by plucking the single string of the bow, holding it to the mouth, and strategically varying the shape of the mouth cavity, different overtones are emphasized to yield a distinct melody. The mouth bow ultimately became a trademark of Sainte-Marie’s performances.

“And then,” Sainte-Marie adds, “if you want to get fancy, you bend it, bend the bow.”


The conversation was filmed in 1966 for Pete Seeger‘s folk music television show Rainbow Quest.

Buffy Sainte-Marie on Pete Seeger's television show
Discover more instruments on TKSST:
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