May 10, 2010

Turtle Shell turn to Musical Instruments

Published on: Sunday, May 09, 2010

Kota Kinabalu: Almost every visit to Sabah Museum's Heritage Village during the ongoing Sabah Fest 2010 seems to yield surprising new cultural elements. The latest "bomb shell" has to be the use of turtle shells as musical instruments - a string of eight shells in the kulintangang of the Paluan, a sub Murutic tribe that hails from Sook.
Everybody in the kulintangang fraternity uses brass but the Paluan use the land (forest) turtle shell and this sets them apart.

For the Daily Express which has been reporting extensively on cultural matters, seeing a turtle-shell kulintangang was also our first.
And the only reason we got to know this was because of Judeth John Baptiste, Assistant Senior Research Curator. Most visitors who venture into the Murut replica house would come away missing this specific piece of information, for two reasons.

First, the Paluan group won't tell anybody because to them there is nothing unusual since this is an age-old tradition going back how long nobody seems to know.
Secondly, the guys beating the kulintangang for the frontline dancers are placed right at the dark background behind the lansaran trampoline platform.
One more surprise. Instead of using the carapace (upper side of turtle shell), they literally turn-turtle by beating the plastron (lower shell which covers turtle belly) instead.
For what reason we don't quite know but they certainly arrange shells of varying sizes to produce the desired tune variants, noted Judeth.
Today (Sunday May 9) is the last day to see this living heritage at the Heritage Village in conjunction with the Sabah Fest 2010.
Watch them also perform their Amamutus - a healing ritual (10.30am & 3pm).

Look out also for the Bajau Kubang mock wedding which is quite a dramatic sight especially the groom carrying procession trailed by gift bearing maidens (11am & 4pm).
The Papar KadazanDusun are also on hand at the Dusun lotud House to perform the Moddsurung doh Tuhunan - a traditional appeasing the river spirit ritual.
At the Tambunan House, the friendly and hospitable Nabai, a sub-Murut group from Keningau will also do a lot of dancing plus the Moguripas - a traditional healing ritual.
But one of the most popular destinations would be certainly the Rungus longhouse where visitors can see priestesses wearing outrageous traditional leg and neck brass coils, as they perform the moginum, a traditional household cleansing ritual.
But hurry, May 9 is the last day for this year's authentic living heritage demo from real ethnic groups brought in from their remote home villages.

Original title: Turtle shell orchestraDailyexpress