European-Style Washboard Playing

Europeans have always welcomed traditional and hot jazz with open arms, but the result is generally not as unsettling as this rendition of “Washboard Wiggles” by a group that, as far as I can discern, is known as Elefanf’U. The odd voicing of the arrangement, the overly-choreographed dance routine during the solo, the marching band-style music holders on everyone’s horn, and the ubiquitous white Panama hats make this video one for the record books.

The washboard player uses the board horizontally rather than vertically, something I’ve noticed is à la mode among European washboardistes. (Sometimes the board is simply laid across the lap; when things get fancy, as with Stéphane Séva or Paris Washboard, there’s an entire little dedicated washboard-on-legs, like a pedal steel guitar, with tons of cymbals, blocks and bells attached. The dude playing for Elefanf’U has one of the latter setups. He’s good, but the whole thing is just weird. It doesn’t help that he spends a lot of time staring into the camera looking like a particularly nutty James Woods.)

Find out more about Elefanf’U.

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