Thursday, 15 August 2013


HACKI TAMAS is a highly respected Hungarian physicist who, since 1967, has also been a semi-professional whistler. If you watch the clip below (after some incomprehensible cigarette based Eastern European tomfoolery) you'll immediately think 'this young chap looks rather uncomfortable, I wonder if the communist regime are forcing him to do this, perhaps at gunpoint', quickly followed by a more fundamental doubt: 'you know what, he doesn't look like he knows how to whistle at all, let alone whistle Mozart'... 


Having seen film of Hacki performing live, we can confirm that, unlike most whistling humans, he doesn't actually use his lips much, instead almost supernaturally conjuring the piercing tones using a bent over tongue, superior breath control and spooky preternatural talent (although, as a scientist, he almost certainly approaches it in a far more rational way). It sounds great but looks a little awkward, especially taken in conjunction with Hacki's frightened, darting eyes.

In this next clip, an older and more casual and confident Haki goes disco. It's extraordinary, and the Magyar crowd are really going for it. There's a lot of nice looking bra-less women in the audience - and Hacki knows that all he has to do is put his lips together and blow...  


No post about musical whistling would be complete without a mention of Roger Whittaker. Whittaker was a 1970's phenomenon, a hugely successful, genuinely popular singer and songwriter not affiliated to any particular musical movement and without a vestige of rock cool. Which makes him REALLY cool. Born in Kenya, Roger learned his craft with the Pokomo Tribe, who use a complex series of high pitched oral tones to control their livestock. Roger moved to England when he was 23, and hasn't stopped whistling yet. If you ever need a taxi he's your man.  

Here he gives rather a haunting performance, greatly intensified by him spending much of the time simply staring at the camera, as if looking into your very soul and coming to the conclusion that you are probably a shit whistler, definitely not in his weight and class. It's quite unnerving, especially at 01:22 when he starts doing space ship noises.  

If you fancy whistling yourself, go ahead, but be warned - it takes practice and patience, especially from the people you live with. 

1 comment:

  1. The first and third clips are brilliant, and the second one is fucking brilliant, as the Magyars say.