- Title: Japanese whistler blows the audience away at a competition in California
- Date: 27th August 2019
- Summary: PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF JAPANESE WHISTLER AKIKO SHIBATA PERFORMING WHISTLING MEDLEY WITH MUSIC BOX DURING WHISTLING COMPETITION SHIBATA USING HER MUSIC BOX AND WHISTLING BEFORE INTERVIEW
- Embargoed: 10th September 2019 20:15
- Keywords: Whistling California contest competition
- Location: PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA001ATZVWBD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: "You know how to whistle, don't you Steve? You just put your lips together, and blow." Hollywood screen icon Lauren Bacall made it sound so easy, when she gave advice to Humphrey Bogart in 'To Have And Have Not.
But for whistlers competing in California, there's a lot more involved if they want to go home with a trophy.
The Masters of Musical Whistling International Festival and Competition, which took place in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena last weekend, brings together whistlers from all over the world, all battling it out to be crowned the next world champion.
"Here we have over 60 whistlers from 11 countries, from all over the world. We are talking from Japan, from Spain, from Italy, we have people coming from all over. It is very exciting to see just so many people that are coming together to be a part of the community," said Carole Anne Kaufman, a former world champion whistler and the founder and organizer of the Masters of Musical Whistling Festival and Competition.
"What makes a good whistler is the same thing that makes an excellent instrumentalist. So, we are looking for the people that sound beautiful, they are in tune, they know how to perform, to connect with the audience. Whatever you would expect from your favorite opera star, whatever you would expect from a professional saxophone player who can do something that moves you, that is how we are judging you, that's what makes a world champion," she added.
This year, it was 36-year-old Japanese whistler Akiko Shibata, who performed a whistling medley with a music box and a puppet, and captivated the audience and judges to take home the world title.
"I started whistling when I was three years old so I don't remember learning how to whistle. When I found out about whistling competitions, they really motivated me to learn. I first competed 10 years ago and I started to practice classical and popular song," recalled Shibata about how her journey to the world title began.
Whistler Sai Chanduri, who lives in North Carolina, performed a whistling version of a Justin Bieber song he had heard emanating from his daughter's bedroom. He said he likes whistling because it is universal.
"It (whistling) has vocal music but no language barrier so it is for the world. That is what it shows today, many whistlers from the world are singing and we are all enjoying it," said Chanduri.
Emily Kehmeier, a 26-year-old whistler from Oakland, California, said she joined the competition because of the unique whistling community.
"In normal life a lot of people are kind of like it is kind of annoying that you whistle all the time but here everyone is very appreciative and it is such a weird niche community that it's cool to have found it," she said.
The next stop on the international whistling circuit will see whistlers competing in Japan at the World Whistlers Convention (WCC) in April 2020 where the next world champion will be crowned.
(Production: Omar Younis, Krystian Orlinski)
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