Justin created the first “Charismo” in 2000. He had recently joined the Americana old-time string band the Hackensaw Boys in Charlottesville, Virginia. and was playing spoons with them at the time.  Before that he played all types of drums from Latin percussion to heavy metal for about eight years.

In the interest of creating a sound for the band that was authentic and an instrument that was portable, the shape and composition of the Charismo made sense.  The inspiration came from seeing a soup can painted red and used as a pencil holder.  Justin realized then how useful these mundane and discarded objects could be.  When assembled with other cans and refuse, tones and an art began to take shape. Charismos are played with jazz brushes, spoons, forks, Guerra scrapers, mallets, chopsticks and other impromptu utensils. The name Charismo came out of conversations including the words charisma and gizmo. Though the word charismo seems to exist in the world, only here does it apply to such a rhythmo-kinetic creation.

When the band first started, the street was one of the Hackensaw Boys main venues and also the perfect place to find “Charismo” components since there always seemed to be a free flow of derelict materials. The percussive theories behind the Charismo are from Africa, Cuba, depression-era America and generally anywhere that poor, resourceful people decide to make music. The potential for joy through music is boundless; it comes at no cost but is rather fueled by the resourcefulness of one’s own creativity.

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