[Bergmark playing the Whalefish]
The Whalefish was my most used instrument up to around 2005, and occasionally afterwards. It is a sort of one-man-band with many functions, and very flexible. It can be played sitting (usually), standing or walking, because it is totally connected to the body: around the neck there’s a thong to which two piano strings attach to the soundboard. From the soundboard there are two wooden legs connected with a foot piece. The movements of the instruments are thus directly connected to the neck, foot and lap.
Apart from playing the strings, there are a number of objects to be played on the sound board (amplified with a contact microphone).
[Bergmark playing the Whalefish]
Photo © by Bertl Muetter.
[The Whalefish, front]
From the top left, there are: telephone bells, 7 piano strings, an almond grinder, a toy music box, a fire alarm bell, a door bell, wooden rods, a spring, protruding pieces of piano wire, a butter ball maker, hacksaw blades, an older instrument called the Hedgehog with a wooden tongue and rods and an egg slicer.
On the rear side of the Whalefish there are an African mbira, another egg slicer and parts of a coffee grinder. On the picture you see again the bells, the contact microphone and the fastening of the wooden and metal rods’ arrangement as well as the strings. The resonator plate comes from an old piano.
[The Whalefish, rear]
To go with it, a great number of tools are used, usually put in a special order in a violin case.
[The toolbox]
[The toolbox]
On the picture to the right you see, from the left: a cigarette lighter, coffee stirrers, nail files, playing cards, piano tuning pins, screws, miniature saw, table duster, rubber bands, steel brush, plastic forks, knives and spoons, cake cutters, shell, tooth brush, combs, onion holder, cone, holder for mock-flowers, back scratcher, piano hammers, (for saw playing), hoof scraper (?), ice strainer, barbecue sticks, food sticks, straw, saw blades, necklace, teat, toy guitar, toy horse, onion saw, feathers, nut grater, screwdriver and bows.
[Bergmark playing the Whalefish]
At Fylkingen ca 2000. Photo © by Bertl Muetter.
[Bergmark playing the Whalefish]
Bluecoat Arts Centre (Frakture) Liverpool. Photo © Phil Morton
[Bergmark playing the Whalefish]
In Szczecin 2003.
[Bergmark playing the Whalefish]
With Andrzej Zaleski at Teatr Kana, Musica Genera festival, Szczecin, poland 2003.
[Bergmark playing the Whalefish]
At Fylkingen ca 2000.

From left to right: William Davison, Paul Hood and Johannes Bergmark live at Centurion Pub, London uk, July 4, 2003 (three excerpts).

Johannes Bergmark – Whalefish
Jukka Korpi, Jessica Mazzi – dance
24kvadrat was run by E=mc2 Danskonst (Gun Lund and Lars Persson), who now run 3e våningen Centrum för ögonblickets konst.

Ad Hoc at Vårflod FRIM festival 2000 at Fylkingen, Stockholm from Johannes Bergmark on Vimeo.
[End is abrupt because the tape ran out.]
Johannes Bergmark - Whalefish, voice (and presenter)
Amit Sen, cello
Jacob Ullberger, banjo
Thomas Mera Gartz, violin
Mikael Grahn, virtual analog synthesizer.
In loving memory of Thomas Mera Gartz, 1944-2012.

The Gallery
Updated the 28th of February, 2019.