As far from home as I've ever been, this music is from the Kelabit highlands of Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. The voice and bamboo instrument are recorded in Pa' Lungan. It took 1.5 hours up river in a tiny boat, followed by a long hike across dense rainforest to reach the beautiful village. Supang (pictured here) is the host at the Batu Ritung Homestay longhouse  and performed on the Pagane as well as gongs. The "knocking" you hear, is a log drum used as a church bell. 

Photo by Scott Clemens.  Recording with Binaural microphones worn in ears.

Photo by Scott Clemens. Water buffalo on Rice field in Pa' Lungan

I’m Supang, Supang Galeh from Pa’ Lungan. And, this is ahhh... made out of Bamboo. We Kelabit call it Pagane.
— Supang Galeh

Photo by Scott Clemens

The instrument is made from a tube of bamboo that is hollowed out with an opening. The skin of the bamboo is left in place over the opening and gathered into strings with small "bridges" at either end to tune them. Leaves, or in this case newspaper, are stuffed inside to make the Pagane louder, more resonant. It is played in the position that you see Supang holding it, with the thumbs, much like I play my Kalimba. 

She told us that her parents used to play the Pagane at the fire in the early mornings and evenings as food was being prepared. She had many other instruments and artifacts in her home.

The village of Pa' Lungan is very beautiful. It rains often so it is carpeted in green and devided by rice fields. Every building in the village was built with only the materials at hand or brought up the river and dragged by water buffalo on carts. Soon, however, a road will cross the jungle. This is positive in some ways for the village, but it will forever change.

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