Music as an Instrument to Release Children From Poverty

Music has long played an important part in Indonesian culture. The Indonesian jofa is one of the most common traditional instruments and it is used in every occasion or celebration.

In Watuliney, a small village in southeast Minahasa, Indonesia, most of the people love music. Those who are able to play the  jofa also like to teach it to their children to perpetuate the musical tradition, but that opportunity does not come to all children. Most schools don’t provide a program for music. The parents who work as farmers can’t afford to buy the instruments for their children or to pay for the music course.

Because of his passion to preserve traditional culture, Adri, the coordinator of Silo Student Center, proposed to provide the jofa for children at the center. He believed that the children in his center had the talent and willingness to learn music.

After receiving a positive response from the church, Adri immediately checked the price of a jofa and ordered some made from a substitute material.

“We changed the material to plastic pipe. We call it jofa. Jofa is the basic instrument that has same tone as the original clarinet.”


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Pengucapan: Indonesian Thanksgiving

Every year from June until September, the people in Minahasa, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, have celebrated a traditional thanksgiving holiday from generation to generation, called Pengucapan. It is the way the people of Minahasa express their gratitude to God for the blessings of the previous year.

The Pengucapan tradition started when the people in this remote area of Indonesia still worshiped gods. They expressed their gratitude to the ultimate god or the highest god, known as opo wanatas empung walian empung rengan-rengan.

After the harvest, Minahasa people held a kuman kan weru ceremony to eat their harvest for the first time and express their gratitude though song and praise to their gods for fertility, good weather, harvest and health. They would  bring their crops as an offering to their gods.

Christianity came to Minahasa in the 1800s, and Minahasa now has one of the highest rates of Christianity in all of Indonesia.

Pastor Philep, who works with a Compassion child development center in Wiaulapi, explained that after Christianity’s arrival, the Church rejected all forms of worshiping gods as part of animism. But the Church at that time saw the expression of gratitude that Minahasa people had in this tradition and allowed them to continue it through churches.

With the presence of the Church, the form of kuman kan weru changed. (more…)

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