It's pronounced "zah FOON." And what is it? Well, it's a bamboo sax that was invented over two decades ago over in Maui, Hawaii. A cross somewhere between a saxophone and a clarinet (though I think it looks more like its mom, myself) it's a bit like a fancy travel-sized hybrid of the two. What used to be a job for a whistle, the xaphoon can be taken anywhere and played any time the mood strikes (note: "any time" doesn't mean that there are not times that are not so appropriate -that is, musicians should use their discretion) and it sounds so much fancier than a whistle. It uses a tenor sax reed and has a chromatic range of two octaves, allowing it to have a more sophisticated sound than other simple instruments of the same size. Woha! Move over harmonica! This little guy is sure to be the instrument of choice among vagabonds, hobos, outlaws and men who get paid to lead the mice out of town.
It's now being marketed as a "Pocket Sax," in fact and I hear that many people are growing more and more fond of it. There are apparently three xaphoon-only instrumental CDs out there and Paul Simon, it's said, used the instrument prominently in his 2006 U.S. tour.
Personally, I think it's cute. And it comes in fun colors (red, green, blue, and probably pink), so what's not to love?