What do pernambuco wood from Brazil, ebony from the Vietnam-Cambodia border, abalone shell from the seas off Brittany, lizard skin, shellac secreted from a bug in India, silk from a Chinese worm, gold, silver, the tusk of a woolly mammoth and the hair of a Mongolian pony have in common?
And why does the bow often cost as much, if not more than the violin?
Why is the bow so important to the tonal quality of the music?
This radio documentary, in the company of master Irish violin bow-maker Gary Leahy, asks those and other fascinating questions as it explores the materials, design, crafting, matters of sound and music and some global ecological issues pertinent to the making of a top-end violin bow.
Gary Leahy began his bow-making journey in New Zealand.