I’m sure when you were a kid watching Star Wars, you just assumed that the instruments being played by Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes (note: if you just called them “the cantina band” I’m really not sure what to do with you) were variants on instruments that you have already seen or played upon. Look, it’s an oboe! That one’s a space saxophone! How wrong you were, my young friend. How misguided. That instrument that Figrin D’an is playing is called a kloo horn. It’s totally different from our lousy Earth instruments. (It’s not.) And the Star Wars universe is full of musicians who loved that instrument, at least according to the Legends canon.
Here are eight of their stories. Eight. There are eight whole stories here, somehow. Eight’s gotta be a magic number somewhere, right?
Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes had two notable kloo horn players among them: Lirin Car’n (who sometimes moonlighted as a mercenary between gigs) and Figrin D’an himself. D’an made the mistake of signing them into an exclusive contract with Jabba, then had to find a clever way out when the whole group realized that spending too much time around the Hutt usually got you killed. D’an was known for being an amazing musician, but an awful band leader who frequently criticized his cohort. Which is rich given that he eventually loses all the band’s instruments in a game of Sabacc. Don’t worry, he wins them back.
Then there’s Banjaxx Wab of “Smooth” Banjaxx Wab and the Scundereds. Do not ask why the smooth is in quotation marks. You will find no answers. His group was the house band for Teemo the Hutt, and they sometimes got loaned out to Jabba whenever Teemo was in the mood to show off. (That’s a lie, Teemo sent the band over to spy on Jabba, don’t you understand the complexities of Hutt politics?)
Queen Leonie of the planet Zeltros was purported to be skilled in “combat, art, science and love,” an elected monarch who was quite popular among her people. She also had collections of erotic sculptures, fancy hats, and over one million pairs of shoes. All that and she also played the Zeltron lute and the kloo horn? What more could you want from a woman, honestly.
The eponymous leader of Umjing Baab and His Swinging Trio was a noted kloo horn player. Though the band apparently only had three members total, not Baab plus three more as their name would suggest. This might have had something to do with the fact that the group were all Rughja, a fifteen-limbed species who could play several instruments simultaneously.
Jimke Weet was a renowned kloo hornist and father of Salak Weet, a traveler who crashed on the forest moon of Endor while attempting to chart the Moddell Sector with a pal of his. Salak eventually got caught by the Sanyassan Marauders and was killed by their king Tarek. Jimke ended up launching a search for his son that completely bankrupted him in four years. In case you were wondering—yes, Salak was that skeleton hanging up in the dungeon on Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. (Tip: go watch The Battle for Endor. I’m aware that once I give you this piece of advice, you will never trust me again. I accept the consequences on my actions.)
Then there was Greeata Jendowanian, of the infamous Max Rebo band! If her name doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because she was a Special Edition addition. (Say that eight times fast.) She was the Rodian backup singer with the mohawk, so you probably vaguely remember who she is. But you probably didn’t know that her name is Rodian for “talented,” and that she played the kloo horn on an intergalactic cruiseliner called the Kuari Princess. Or that after leaving the Max Rebo Band following Jabba’s demise, she later joined a group called… The Palpatones.
And then, of course, there was Rebel Alliance intelligence chief Airen Cracken—haha, psych! He was not notable for his musical skills at all. But he did avoid Imperial detention by pretending to be a kloo horn player. So. Fun with subterfuge.
“But what even is a kloo horn!” I hear you shrieking at the screen. Don’t worry, friends, I’ve got you covered:
The kloo horn is one of the more popular musical implements in the Star Wars galaxy, and it is used primarily in the musical genres of Jizz and Jatz. Yes, that is how they are spelled and what they are called. No, there is nothing I can do about that. The kloo horn is a double-reeded wind instrument with an ‘S’-shaped mouthpiece.
Also, did you know that one of the more popular types music to play on the kloo horn is called the Hutt Two-Step?
The Hutt Two-Step.
Just sit with it for a moment.
“But Hutts don’t have—” Sshhh, it’s okay. I’m here. Just read the list of kloo horn players all over again and forget the rest.
Thanks to Wookieepedia.
This article was originally published in February 2017.