Sompoton workshop participants showing off their skills.
KOTA KINABALU 2011/07/12: It is one of the most popular traditional musical instruments in Sabah, but not many know how to play it.
The sompoton is also popular among tourists, who buy it as a souvenir, although its melodious sound is alien to them.
To promote and encourage locals to pick up the sompoton, the Kadazan Dusun Language and Cultural Centre (KDLC) recently organised the first ever workshop on the native instrument.
Themed "Our Music, Our Pride", 11 people, including one from Penang, spent three days learning the finer points of playing the instrument under the guidance of Juie Maikon, an experienced sompoton player from Tambunan.
The sompoton is made from a dried gourd and eight bamboo pipes arranged in a double-layered raft.
The sompoton produces a soft sweet harmonious sound by blowing or drawing on air through the gourd's mouthpiece.
KDLC adviser Dr Roslayn Gelunu said more such workshops would be organised in the future, featuring other traditional musical instruments.
"Our aim is to highlight the uniqueness of the various traditional musical instruments in Sabah to encourage locals as well as foreigners to learn how to play them."