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“It made me aware just how much music can transcend language as a form of cross-cultural communication.”

“On Friday, Rachel, Gillian, Tony, Thomas (our local interpreter) and I made our way to a tiny village called Cocovei. We were dropped off by our ute on the road, and formed a procession (pied-piper style- I had my flute out and was playing happy little riffs to lure the children, Tony and Rachel played percussive rhythms) towards the village centre were we ran a music workshop. We handed out the instruments and led the group through various rhythms and songs. We finished the workshop by singing a local song to them and Tony, Rachel and myself improvised on a theme that was taught to Gillian by the kindergarten in town. On our way back to Lospalos, we bush bashed through a bit of dense jungle where we discovered the Indonesian military markings on the trees as well as having a coconut stop on the side of the road. Thomas climbed up the 5-meter tall coconut tree with his bare hands and feet and dropped half a dozen coconuts to the ground. A local man cut holes in the coconuts with his machete, and we enjoyed fresh coconut juice and flesh.

On Saturday we held a public jam that we had spent the week advertising by word of mouth. We called it Toca Boot (the Big Play). We invited the children and young people from the village as well as local musicians to engage in some good old-fashioned community music making… The local groups then shared some of their music with us. It was the biggest musical jam that I have ever been involved with. Around 500 people came and went over the two hours that we were set up in the old market place. It was an awesome vibe and also an incredible way to finish our stay in Lospalos. On the walk home, Doug, Rachel and myself were listing the things that we would miss about living in the community: being waved to and greeted by everyone we would walk past, the energy of the children that were keen to be involved in the music making process, the way we were referred to as older sister (mana) and older brother (mau), our diet of rice, a few vegetables and MSG (maybe not so much miss as think fondly of), the countless marriage proposals from the locals, the smells and sights of the village and many many more things that will resurface over the coming weeks in my memory.”

Some recollections from Lina Andonovska (flute) on her recent trip to East Timor with fellow ANAM students Doug Coghill (viola) and Rachel Cashmore (oboe).

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