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date: 28 January 2020


  • Regis Stella


Term for both an idioglot bamboo jew’s harp (susap) and a musical bow of the Banoni people, Papua New Guinea. As elsewhere in Bougainville, the jew’s harp is a men’s instrument, the mouth bow a women’s. Men apply love magic to the jew’s harp to attract women. It is activated by jerking a string so that the player’s thumb strikes the base of the tongue. In a story a man named Marere learned to play it from a wild man. Women were so attracted to the sound that they would have sex with Marere instead of going fishing. Trying to escape from the women’s husbands, Marere dropped the instrument and turned into a stone; now other men can play the bekuru. The women’s musical bow, now obsolete, consisted of a string stretched between two ends of a strip of bamboo, about 45 cm long.

R. Stella: Forms and Styles of Traditional Banoni Music...

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