If you’ve been following the 2010 world cup you probably wonder what the hell is making all that noise at the stadiums. That would be a vuvuzela, the musical instrument that sounds like a billion bees buzzing simultaneously.
Just What Exactly is a Vuvuzela?
The vuvuzela is a plastic re-imagination of the stadium blowing horn. It takes its shape from the South African Kudu horn. Vuvuzelas have been around in one form or another since the 70s, but South Africa popularized them in the 90s. It only costs about $1 to make, but it’s available online for anywhere between $8 and $15. Cutting them in half and attaching an extra piece of pipe makes the trumpet even louder.
If those South African vuvuzelas were any louder they’d blow the players right off the pitch. The longhorns have been blasted by many in the health community because of its association with hearing loss. One research estimated that it rings in at a decibel level of 135. Before you run over to Amazon and order a vuvuzela in every color, keep in mind that prolonged use of the instrument can render your eardrums numb. That’s not to mention the bruised lips likely to be sustained from too much vuvuzela blowing. Sharing your vuvuzela is a no-no, unless spreading droplets of spit is your idea of world cup spirit.
Impact on the Game
Vuvuzelas are already having an impact on the game, with some players complaining that they can’t hear calls from their teammates. During the world cup opener between Mexico and South Africa, for instance, a Mexican player called for the ball but wasn’t heard by his teammate, who instead went for a header and diverted the ball wide. “That trumpet? It’s not nice,” whined Spanish midfielder Xavi Alonso. ‘I think FIFA should ban it.”
FIFA briefly considered granting Alonso’s wish by banning the vuvuzela, which first came under fire on the heels of the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa. However, South Africa insisted that the vuvuzelas are part of the South African football culture. FIFA backed off and dropped the ban.
The vuvuzela trend isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. Look for its Brazilian version corneta to make an appearance at the 2014 World Cup. And don’t be surprised if some innovative producer decides to coerce music out of a vuvuzela someday. Maybe RZA will craft a Killa Bees track with vuvuzelas in the backdrop?