Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Kapul Harp

Today at STEP, Mathew came up to me at lunch time with an odd-looking contraption. It was a traditional instrument from his area and he gave us an impromptu demonstration. It’s sound is similar to a Jew’s harp, though it is made of bamboo. It has one step up on the Jew’s harp though – it has its own rhythm section. That bundle hanging from the string is a collection of cuscus jaws, and they rattle as he plays. (A cuscus is a small marsupial that is very common in PNG and is widely hunted for food).

The bell rang for class before I could ask Mathew what the official name of his instrument is, so for now I’m going to call it a “kapul harp”, since “kapul” is the Tok Pisin word for cuscus.

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