Wait! Wait! What’s that noise? Is the stadium holding the world cup built over the most ridiculously annoying bees nest in the world? I asked myself this question, the first game I watched of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Did you ask, the same thing? Admit it, you must have wondered.

Thus, I thought, perhaps the noise is coming from an amazing guitar chord…Guns ‘n Roses or something… a note held for a long time. A really, really long time. However, after 90 minutes of chord-on-blues, I realized it wasn’t that either. I mean, come on, even Slash couldn’t hold a chord for this long.

Anyways, my analysis of the background buzzing was totally adrift. Turns out the zip, zip, zipping is courtesy of what’s known as the “stadium horn,” or the vuvezela. So what is the vuvezela, and what’s all the buzz? You know I wasn’t going to let this one go unanswered.

The vuvuzela was conceptualised by a man named Freddie “Saddam” Maake, who sought to create an instrument from metal handlebars of a bicycle. He removed the rubber handles and blew into the aluminum to make a horn sound. Voila! The vuvuzela became Freddie’s fruition. Mister Maake, being the marketing genius that he was, introduced his super-duper invention to Mexican soccer stadiums in the 1970’s, and through word-of-mouth (or blow-of-mouth), it grew even more fab-tastic, eventually meeting South Africa in the early 1990’s.

Now has become the concert of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This little musical diddy produces a loud, and quite distinctive monotone noise. The sound coming from the vuvuzela has various decibels depending on the frequency of air pressure, and remains in the chord of b. Like a traditional horn, fans blow into the top and the noise comes out the bottom.

This famous horn is 65 cm long, and has been used throughout Latin countries for the last few decades. The vuvuzela comes in an assortment of colors (to match team apparel we’re sure), and has totally increased in popularity within the South African Soccer traditions. It’s loud and distinctive sound is the victory call for the South African spectators. We might compare it to the USC band here in the states.

The vuvuzela’s earned notoriety during the 2009 Confederation Cup. The horns were blown in anticipation of the the impending 2010 World Cup Games.

This sweetie-pie little noise-maker has stirred up all sorts of controversies throughout it’s introduction to the soccer arena.

For starters, the not-so-fabulous soccer fans have used the aluminum form of the instrument as a weapon (the horns have since been made from plastic). In addition, the sound pressure from the horn is said to cause hearing loss. Actually, a study has found that the output of the vuvuzela varies between 113-131 decibels, which is 21 decibels higher then your average neighborhood chainsaw.

Okay, imagine a soccer stadium filled with chainsaws, and you’ll see where I’m going with this. It’s like a demolition derby, on steroids. Louder then a hydroplane race; several times louder.

American baseball recently had it’s brush with the vuvuzela. As a promotional item, 15,000 of the musical creatures were handed out during a Tampa Bay Rays vs. Florida Marlins game. Criticism of the instruments during the game lead to a league-wide ban of the vuvuzela during all MLB games.

In addition, other stadiums and venues to ban the instrument include; Yankee Stadium, Wimbledon, SWALEC, Millennium Stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground, and Cardiff City.

We must admit, the history behind the vuvuzela is fascinating. Wither you find it annoying or intriguing, it’s a sound that’s here to stay for the remainder of the World Cup Games. We’d prefer the South Africans be introduced to old fashioned thunder sticks and pom-poms, but that’s our inner-cheerleader speaking for us.

Either way, now… you know!


Stay Fabulous,

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