- Flautist Marselus Selu has began a music collective on the island of Flores to foster conventional wind devices created from native bamboo.
- The 64-year-old taught himself to construct and play the devices as a young person.
- In close by Langagedha village, Margaretha Dae has develop into the primary girl to plant bamboo, contributing to improved water storage and lowering carbon emissions.
NGADA, Indonesia — Marselus Selu needed to be a musician from an early age, however he didn’t have the cash again then to purchase a flute. Right this moment, he’s a grasp craftsman of bamboo devices and has performed for Indonesia’s president.
“Within the early ’70s it price 5 rupiah, however I didn’t have any cash,” Marselus, 64, instructed Mongabay at his dwelling within the hamlet of Wogo, in Ratogesa village, close to the southern coast of Flores Island.
Undeterred, Marselus earned cash hauling bamboo from the forest again to the village for others, and taught himself to each construct and play the standard flutes which have accompanied life in Ratogesa for hundreds of years. The bamboo forest is round 20 kilometers (12 miles) uphill from the village.
“They used to play bamboo flute music for marriage ceremony processions going all the way in which to the church and again to their villages,” Marselus stated.
He realized his commerce by observing the situation and depth of the reduce that craftsmen made within the bamboo. He realized the subtleties of working with the uncooked materials, together with the perfect season to chop down the bamboo within the forest, and the way this influenced the instrument’s sound.
“If the bamboo is skinny and the water content material is low, then the sound will probably be loud,” he stated.
Bamboo has lengthy been used to construct conventional wind devices throughout a lot of Asia. The shakuhachi emerged in Japan throughout the sixteenth century and stays in use as a part of meditation. In Java, the suling flute continues for use as a part of gamelan orchestral ensembles.
In Flores, the foy doa and foy pai are distinct wind devices which are mixed and performed collectively by a single musician. The foy doa presents a louder sound at greater pitch for melody, whereas the foy pai produces rhythmic decrease tones.
As a younger man, Marselus recalled the flutes typically being performed at dawn in Ratogesa. The music would replicate the temper of the musician on the time. Songs from the bamboo flute might seem buoyant and hopeful, or darkish and mournful.
Bamboo devices are at their greatest when a part of an ensemble, he stated.
“If performed by lots of people, no less than 25 individuals, then the sound of the music produced will probably be higher,” he stated.
Marselus can be the founding father of Satu Tekad, a conventional bamboo music collective that has performed as far afield because the island of Bali. The group has additionally performed for Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, generally often known as Jokowi.
“Early final June, when Pak Jokowi got here to Ngada district and stopped by Wogo, we performed this bamboo music,” he stated. “It felt good to have the ability to play bamboo music in entrance of the president.”
Properties all through the hamlet of Wogo use bamboo of their building, from the roofing right down to the load-bearing posts.
Forestry scientists say bamboo is extremely efficient at restoring degraded land and offering safety to communities from land slips that usually happen following storms.
A brief drive west from Marselus’s dwelling, within the village of Langagedha, Margaretha Dae waters and applies compost to her bamboo seedlings day-after-day. The 30-year-old visits houses within the space and requests seedlings at any time when a household has harvested wooden from bamboo forests.
Every stand of bamboo right here shops round 5,000 liters of water throughout the wet season. A hectare of bamboo can take in 50 metric tons of carbon emissions per 12 months.
“Bamboo is essential sooner or later as a result of it has many advantages, so let’s plant bamboo,” Margaretha stated.
Simply as Marselus is seen as a keeper of the bamboo music custom in Ratogesa, Margaretha is breaking taboos in her village — turning into the primary girl to open a bamboo nursery.
“She is a pioneer for girls in Ngada,” stated Paskalis Lalu, regional coordinator for the Environmental Bamboo Basis (YBL), a Bali-based NGO.
In Wogo, Marselus additionally serves because the Soma, or head, of the standard home of Sao Liko Woe, Woe Ngate. There are 32 of those conventional homes in Wogo.
A central customary workplace acts as a village corridor for the neighborhood, the place points are mentioned and native resolutions cemented.
“This customary workplace is used to reconcile the issues of every clan. All issues are mentioned right here,” he stated.
It took Marselus 5 months of constant self-taught apply earlier than he felt he had lastly grasped the instrument. Right this moment he spends a part of his time providing classes to schoolchildren, giving younger individuals entry to a conventional music training that he fought for as a baby.
“We stay dedicated to preserving conventional, cultural and pure heritage based on the message of our ancestors,” Marselus stated. “That’s why we at all times invite younger individuals to be concerned in each conventional cultural exercise in order that later they will go this right down to the following era.”
Banner picture: Marselus Selu, head of the One Tekad bamboo music group in Ngada Regency, NTT Province, performs conventional bamboo musical devices. Photograph by Ebed de Rosary/Mongabay Indonesia.