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» 10/29/2011
Traditional music lessons for young Borneo Catholics
by Mathias Hariyadi
One week course in the region of Kapuas Hulu (West Kalimantan) for 35 young people. In Pontianak, the provincial capital, a course in choral singing for more than 200 young people. The aim of the initiative: to compose traditional Dayak songs, of the indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia.

Pontianak (AsiaNews) - For one week, young Catholics in the remote province of West Kalimantan participated in singing and music lessons, during which they composed Dayak songs, typically traditional of the indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia. Fr. Karl Edmund Prier, a Jesuit and an expert on liturgical music from the Yogyakarta center, directed the course of about 35 young Catholics from nine parishes scattered throughout the region Kapuas Hulu (Diocese of Sintang). In Pontianak, the capital of the province, the famous musician Paul Widyawan held a workshop on choral singing, which was attended by over 200 children.

"The young people’s response - said the Jesuit - was great, something quite unique. No one knew the Dayak traditional songs, but they called their grandparents to have them sing them. From those recordings on their phones, they are able to compose at least 36 songs. "The results obtained from the week of lessons were beyond all expectations, because today hundreds of indigenous Dayak do not know their traditional culture.

The island of Kalimantan - known as Borneo - is not very populated, despite being five times larger than the island of Java. The term Dayak means more than 200 ethnic subgroups, with different languagesand cultures. Today, the Dayak are mostly Christian (91%). The remainder are animist (7%) and Muslim (2%).

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