Clinton Curry: I began blowing the conch shell as soon as I began to been able to walk. My father taught me how to play, taught my other brothers how to play to shell as well and put traditional of blowing the conch shell in the Keys and then Keys West dates back several 100 years.
There was on a ship that went out, that didn't have at least one conch shell on it for communications. What I have here is a conch that is actually been the technical term is called punked, someone hit it with a hammer and that hammer mark then creates a vacuum the snail fall right out of the shell and then you can prepare it.
Now, this one here has had that spiral end removed, the shell is then bore out a little to create a mouth piece and then we are able to produce the sound.
The mouth position is a pucker and by changing the pitch of your lips and the movement of your tongue you can change the tone. What most people will do is they will get a shell, they will say okay, I can just do that then, and that's traditionally what most people will do.
What you want to do though is pull from that gut and then let it go. So some of us taken it to another level where play portions of the composed music.
I will give you quick little sample of a section from sabre dance.
The advice I would give to aspiring conch shell musicians is to go and buy a conch shell, take a deep breath and give it your best shot. Anybody can do this. You just got to get pass the fear of putting the shell next to your mouth and watching your friends ridicule you while you go out and learn how to play a conch shell.