‘VILLAGE OF HEAVENLY MUSIC’ OWES IT ALL TO ONE MAN
their 40s or 50s”.
He spoke while putting the finishing touches to a paint job on a type of classical string instrument called a tembor. As part of his efforts to continue his father’s legacy, Ismayil is also teaching the business to Ahmat Nurdi, his 13-year-old son.
Yunus first started making musical instruments as a poor man in his 20s, when an aunt came to visit and suggested he learn the craft to improve his circumstances.
After two years of study, he successfully made his first tembor. Gradually, the instruments he made started to sell for good money, according to Ismayil, helping Yunus to lift himself out of poverty, renovate his house and buy a motorcycle.
Instrument making is not an easy job, however. “The bottom half of a tembor is carved out of a single piece of wood,” said Rahman Turahun, a 45-year-old maker in the village.
“It takes both time and concentration, as a single minor mistake may ruin it all.”
Ayit Imin, a 58-year-old artisan dubbed “king of instruments” by his fellow villagers, said that it takes two people 15 days to make a tembor with carved patterns of moderate complexity.
“Up until now, I’ve had 40 apprentices, but I’ve also had many who dropped out halfway, for they were heart-stricken when they hear the poor sound made by the instruments that they had devoted so much time to,” Imin said.
Liang Shuang contributed to this story.