Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A musical treat

When several western classically trained musicians visited the village of Gaung Baru, a spontaneous concert and exchange with the traditional Dayak fiddlers happened.

Arriving from the Rahai'i Pangun, having already cruised past orangutan islands and clambered up Mt Tangkiling, we walked through this tiny village, accessible only by river. As we went, our guests attracted a huge turnout of villagers. Bringing out their instruments to accompany the age old welcome dances, the musicians then lent them to be played by the visitors.

Later we were invited to the home of the kecapi or traditional stringed instrument maker. So impressed by how he had searched the jungle for the right tree to create the instrument, our guest decided to buy one.

Later, in a chance meeting during a forest walk, we came across a villager fashioning a canoe from a Meranti tree he had felled the day before. Using only a simple adze, he had hollowed out the trunk in preparation for putting it over flames to strengthen it, and later adding planks to the side.

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