Former Arabs Got Talent contestant pursues music career

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Hassan Minawi, a Jordanian musician, transformed a straw into a musical instrument which he uses to play popular Arabic tunes.

The wind instrument helped the musician make his way to the finals of the popular TV show Arabs Got Talent in 2012.

Minawi says his love for music developed at a young age.

By the age of eleven, he had learned to play a variety of instruments including the nay and the violin.

The idea for the straw instrument came to Hassan while he was teaching music at a primary school in Amman almost 5 years ago.

One of his students forgot his instrument on a day the children were meant to hold a concert.

“I got the idea from a small child who was crying, and drinking from a juice box at the same time. He didn't have a musical instrument with him that day, for reasons I don't know, and he was crying because he wanted to play music with the other kids,” said Minawi in an interview with Reuters Television.

“So I told the child I'm going to turn this straw you're using into an instrument, I put holes into it using the solder gun, and I tried to use the straw to make music, and it made music. That's how the idea started,” he continued.

Since then, he has developed the straw, creating different sounds and musical scales by varying the size of the holes made in the straw, and the type of straws used.

He also began teaching this skill to his students, who would often play the 'straw' to their delighted parents.

Minawi's invention became famous after he participated in the second season of the popular TV show 'Arabs Got Talent'.

He wanted to participate after watching a fellow Jordanian on the show.

Initially, he says his family was worried about the type of exposure the show would give him.

“I said I am going to participate in this program, and use this straw as a musical instrument. My wife, out of love and concern, told me not to participate as she was worried they would make a joke out of me.
But I was determined to take part and prove to everyone that a simple instrument like a straw, can have a huge impact on the program,” said the musician, who received rave review from the judges, and made it to the final 12.

However, Minawi, father of two young girls, says life after the show has not been as he expected, as he struggles to find a steady job in the music industry.

Minawi says that much of the support he received during the show has not resulted in any long-term or stable employment.

“I received a lot of international media exposure [from the show]. However I am currently unemployed, I work in concerts, so if something comes up, I can earn a living, but if no concerts come up, I won't,” said Minawi.

Currently, Minawi says he is waiting to receive a patent for his musical invention, which he hopes to market and sell to the masses.

His next project is to organize the world's largest band of students playing on the straw instrument in hopes of entering the Guinness book of World Records.

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