If I told you the carpenter’s saw is also a musical instrument that can play all notes and keys, would you believe me?
Well, you better do! The proverbial woodwork tool has musical qualities as well, and that’s what octogenarian blacksmith, Samuel Asante Darko takes great pride in.
His cool and calm disposition sharply contrasts the ‘crazy’ things he does with his saw.
That’s a glaring mismatch, which depicts a pure blend of passion and talent. Call him ‘the performer who possess a something special’ even though he isn’t the first!
At first glance, it looks simple and easy to play, but an initial attempt makes one appreciate his musical prowess and the complexity involved in his sawist career that commands love and respect for him everywhere he goes.
But how does he achieve that?
Agya Asante Darko pairs his tool with a cello bow to make music. He first sits and positions the rip saw handle in between his thighs and slightly elevates his right leg to support it.
With a firm but gentle grip on the toe of the blade, he bends it into an S-curve while he skillfully draws the tensioned stick along and acrosses the smooth edge of the blade to produce tuneful melodies. He controls the pitch and octave by adjusting the S-curve.
The part of the blade that is curved is held from vibration, and does not sound.
But at the center of the S-curve, a section of the blade, known as “the sweet spot”(where the music comes from), remains relatively flat.
This sweet spot travels up the blade for a higher pitch and octave, or toward the handle for a lower pitch. If he desires vibrato, he shakes his elevated leg and wobbles his hand. And of course, he needs his musical ear to pick up notes!
Samuel Asante Darko has commandeered this skill for over 40 years and plays any song in any key; whether rehearsed or not.
In addition, the exceptional ability, pure intonation and the artistic passion he pours into each performance is remarkable.
Three years ago, he lost one of his sons who dared to take after him musically, to kidney failure.
Due to this, his hopes of a worthy successor stands dashed, as he earnestly looks forward to filling that void by training as many people as he can before the master calls.
They say talent never sleeps! And so at 81, Samuel Asante Darko knows no stopping.
He looks fit and plays with a lot of stamina and a faultless precision of technique heartily to the admiration of all.
Watch Samuel Asante Darko play his musical saw.
By Johnnie Hughes| 3news.com| Ghana
The writer is the award-winning host of #CommunityConnect on 3fm 92.7 on Fridays at 3:00 pm and TV3 NewDay every week day.