Ole-ole [oli-oli; lole; alal; pit]
- Margaret J. Kartomi
- , revised by Gini Gorlinski
[oli-oli; lole; alal; pit]
Idioglot retreating-reed shawm associated notably with the Batak Toba, Mandailing, Angkola, and Simalungun peoples of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. It is made from a rice stalk roughly 9 cm long, into one end of which are cut a number of vertical slits. That end of the stalk is inserted into the player’s mouth, and when blown, the slits dilate to form a multiple reed. Through variations in breath or lip pressure, the player can produce a small range of pitches. Although some ole-ole consist solely of the rice stalk, most have a large cone-shaped bell usually wound from sugar-cane leaves or a palm frond. The distal end of the stalk is fitted into the narrow opening at the top of the bell, leaving about one-third of the stalk protruding for the player to blow. The bell lasts only a month or so and the rice-stalk reed is usable only once.