Musical Instruments & Cowbells

Musical instruments in Timor are generally handmade and can be allocated to 5 main categories drums, bells, gongs, woodwind and string. Surprisingly it is men that join the dance on the lightest of feet, adorned with bells and goat hair, whilst women play the drums and gongs
Here is a small selection that have been made completely by hand. Musical instruments are treasured and rarely offered for sale. Not always melodious, tribal sounds accompany many a ceremony and party in the highlands of central West Timor.
Cowbells are another wonderful example of living traditions that continue to be practiced by the Atoni in the highlands of West Timor. Each bell is hand-carved from a solid piece of wood that will continue to deepen in colour with time and oiling.
Cowbells in Timor are still worn by the lead cow in the herd. Hung around the neck, each bell has an individual sound it helps the owners identify their animal in the jungle. He calls them home each night using his FEKU (wooden flute). Livestock represent wealth to the subsistence level farmers that continue live in very much the same way as their ancestors.
Copyright Julie Emery 22/02/2022©