Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garamut drums

This picture shows a garamut drum at Kahule village on the west coast of Buka. Many parts of PNG have these or traditionally had them. At Kahule, only the chief is allowed to make these drums and he has passed the skill onto his future successor, who will only be able to make one after the current chief dies. It is made out of one piece of wood and the inside is hollowed out using a special tool.

This is the chief sounding the drum. He hits the side of it to make the sound. He is sending a message to the community that the visitors are here and they should leave what they are doing and come to help us with our work (maybe not quite as detailed as that though!). There are different messages that can be sent depending on how the chief hits the drum. For example, if he hits it in a different pattern, he could send the message that someone has died. It’s a great way of communicating a message to a lot of people without using modern technology!

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