Documenting the curious world of the hurdy-gurdy.

Marc Egea - Catalan hurdy-gurdy player

Reader Christa Muths sent me a review of possibly the best hurdy-gurdy player in Spain, Marc Egea.  All the text that follows is from Christa:

Marc Egea (Barcelona 1973) is the leading Catalan musician and composer playing the hurdy-gurdy.

Marc started playing the hurdy-gurdy when he was 22 and soon recognised its enormous possibilities and followed in the foot steps of the great French hurdy-gurdy master Valentin Clastrier. The hurdy-gurdy, a medieval instrument is widely played across Europe and the US as folk, dance and street music instrument.

Marc writes mainly in Catalan, but also in Spanish and uses in his compositions many of the traditional Catalan and Spanish instruments.

He plays a variety of traditions, types and styles of music and expands his range to Jazz, modern dance tunes, accompaniments to poetry and experimental music.

Before becoming a full time musician Marc studied philosophy at the University of Barcelona and with his band Kalakau he also plays “philosophical” music: these tunes are like meditation and they take you into a world of melody and rhythm as well as thought and reflection. You do not want the music to stop as the melody relaxes while the rhythm carries you to another level of awareness at the same time and the sequence of the music takes you into a world of calm and yet alert reflection.

When combining just the hurdy with his voice his songs create an electrifying field.

He has produced 8 CD’s, the newest one will be released shortly:

  • 2001 - D’aquí, d’allà i de més enllà (hurdy-gurdy solo).
  • 2003 - Les ratlles del món 
  • 2005 - Melanocetus (with Enric Canada, Ana Losantos, Franco Molinari, Enrique Tellería y Jordi Vallverdú)
  • 2005 - Karagöz & Hacivat (zanfona, loops, flabiol, taragot y percusiones).
  • 2005 - Helionora (hurdy-gurdy solo)
  • 2006 - Kaulakau (with Kaulakau).
  • 2007 - Chuveirinho (with Enric Canada, Franco Molinari y Pilar Subirà).
  • 2009 - Glimpse (hurdy-gurdy solo, see

His teaching book how to play the hurdy (Introducció a la viola de roda) was published in 2008 in Catalan, the sequence of the exercises are very helpful to learn to understand the instrument and its range.

Marc is not only an excellent technical musician, but he has a deep feeling for the instrument and for the effects of music and sound.


You also find him on YouTube and Facebook.

Christa Muths 2010

Not really a review, but a demonstration by maker Neil Brook of his new entry level hurdy-gurdy called “The Wren”. 

A video review by WaterpigMaster of the  Symphonie hurdy-gurdy by Chris Allen in the UK.  This is a box-shaped mediaeval hurdy-gurdy in G/C tuning.   The standard model has two chanterelles, trompette and one drone.  It is fully chromatic over two octaves and available with capos to allow playing in different keys.

Anna Murphy, hurdy-gurdy player for the Swiss folk/pagan metal band Eluveitie, talks about her instrument and demonstrates it backstage at their 4/25/10 show in NYC.

An interview with Matthias Loibner

There’s a great video interview with hurdy-gurdy virtuoso, Matthias Loibner over at interMuse - see here.  Interesting description of the instrument and some fantastic playing. Well worth a watch!

Whilst you’re thinking about Loibner, there are a couple of nice videos on Vimeo of his Winterreise recording.  See here and here.


Christiane Boesiger’s daughter sings too - but not (not yet?) opera! Here is Anna Murphy, with the great folk-metal-band Eluveitie, singing “Omnos” from Eluveitie’s new accoustic album “Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion”. More info about Eluveitie:


From the Eluveitie album “Evocation 1-The Arcane Dominion” 

Inis Mona

The inimitable Eluveitie featuring hurdy-gurdy. 

Heroes (David Bowie)
Arcade Fire

Cover of Bowie’s Heroes, featuring hurdy-gurdy. 

Ritchie Blackmore play hurdy-gurdy in The Clock Ticks On.

Page & Plant - Hurdy-gurdy Solo - LIve ‘95 Milwaukee
Nigel Eaton

Nigel Eaton plays hurdy-gurdy live at Bradley Arena, Milwaukee, USA. 

Page & Plant - Hurdy-gurdy Solo - Live ‘95 Albuquerque
Nigel Eaton

Nigel Eaton plays hurdy-gurdy at Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, NM. 

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Annie Lennox

Featuring a hurdy-gurdy. 

Misty Morning Albert Bridge
The Pogues

Featuring a hurdy-gurdy. 

British Pathé: hurdy-gurdy footage from the 1950’s

Charming 1953 news footage of the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, featuring footage of a number of French hurdy-gurdy players accompanying dancers (about 1 minute into the clip).  See here.

And more footage, this one from French Week in Jersey - the “hokey kokey of its period”.  See here.

and footage from the Paris Exhibition of 1937, including hurdy-gurdy and dancers.  See here.