‘Au ni mako (‘ground bamboo’)
- Mervyn McLean
Stamping tube set of the ‘Are’are people of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Among the neighbouring Kwarekwareo they are called ‘au ni wado. A set consists of ten bamboo tubes 13 to 46 cm long, closed by a node at the lower end. Unlike the kiro stamping tubes which accompany singing, they are carefully tuned to a pentatonic scale. A single musician sits on the ground or on a low seat, legs spread. On the ground between his thighs he places a stone against which he strikes the tubes of his choice, held four in each hand. Between the two largest toes of each foot he wedges one of the two remaining tubes, which he strikes on smaller stones, one by each foot. Alternatively the tubes may be shared among two or three musicians, in which case the ensemble may increase to 12 with each player holding two tubes in each hand. The simultaneous and alternate striking of the tubes produces a sound like a xylophone....