Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Life in the Time of Vuvuzelas

One might have expected the sound track to this year's World Cup, held in South Africa, to be Kwela music or perhaps Venda or Zulu tribal chants. Instead, the defining sound of the tournament was the unending monotone of the vuvuzela — the ubiquitous, China-made plastic horn that releases a continuous low bellow loud enough to wake the dead. With stadiums full of the instruments — 75,000 vuvuzelas, blown simultaneously — broadcasters scrambled to find a way to temper the irksome audio from the field. And as the instruments rapidly spread around the world — finding their way even into the stands at Major League Baseball games — a fad was born.