Two cousins out to preserve Dusun ethnic music

TAMPARULI, Sept 18: Despite the challenges of the modern world, two cousins from Kampung Puhus, here, choose to preserve the traditional musical instruments of the Dusun ethnic group.


Jyrolynn Jitour, 23, and Eva Elkana Duanis, 22, decided to do so when they realised many of their peers considered the traditional instruments such as sompoton (mouth organ made of gourd and bamboo pipes), flute, marimba (percussion instrument comprising wooden bars and rubber mallets), tagunggak (bamboo idiophone) and skopion (percussion instrument) as outdated.


The lack of interest among their peers has not stopped them from preserving the legacy by learning in depth the techniques of playing these musical instruments to pass it on to the younger generation.


A graduate in fine arts from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Jyrolynn admitted being passionate about instilling love for Dusun ethnic arts such as playing its traditional musical instruments.


“Therefore, I would not be angry if our efforts to preserve our Dusuin heritage are considered by some to be a waste of time and of no benefit.


“As a child, I was exposed to traditional music as my parents used to play some of the instruments such as sompoton and flute.


“My grandfather, Limunduk, who died at the age of 80, was not only good at playing the sompoton, but s also known as an expert in making the instrument among the folks in Kampung Puhus,” she told Bernama here.


Despite not inheriting the skills that her grandfather and parents had, she said she would continue playing the sompoton and flute to preserve the heritage.


Meanwhile, Eva Elkana has for 11 years been learning how to play traditional instruments such as flute, tagunggak, kulintangan (set of gongs) and marimba through workshops led by president of the Tuaran Cultural Association (PESTA), Kuhim Ebin Ugat.


“I was intrigued by the way of playing traditional Dusun ethnic music,” said she who studied up to Form Six at Sekolah Menengah Advent Tamparuli.


She said it would be a loss to let the art die, especially when some folks were still willing to teach it to the young.


Eva Elkana hopes that more peers will come forward to uphold and preserve the traditional arts without feeling embarrassed so as to keep these treasures alive.

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