Kolintang (Indonesian Xylophone) is originated a culture of Minahasa, a regency in North Sulawesi . It is similar to a wooden xylophone and is popular nationwide as the traditional music instrument from North Sulawesi. Based on one version of local folklore, name of Kolintang came from the sound: TING (high pitch note) and TANG (moderate pitch note), TONG (low pitch note). In the local language, the invitation "Let us do some TING TANG TONG" is: "mangemo kumolintang", hence the name of the instrument, KOLINTANG.


In its early days, Kolintang originally consisted of only a series of wooden bars placed side by side in a row on the legs of the players who would sit on the floor with both of their legs stretched out in front of them. Later on, the function of the legs was replaced either by two poles of banana trunk or by a rope which hung them up to a wooden plank. Story says that resonance box was beginning to be attached to this instrument after Diponegoro, a prince from Java who was exiled to Minahasa, brought along the Javanese instrument Gamelan with its resonance box, Gambang.

Kolintang had a close relationship with the traditional belief of North Sulawesi’s natives and as their culture, It was usually played in ancestor worshipping rituals. That might explain the reason why Kolintang was nearly totally left behind when Christianity came to North Sulawesi. It was so rarely played that it was nearly extinct for about a 100 year since then. It only reappeared after the World War II, pioneered by the blind musician Nelwan Katuuk, who reconstructed it according to universal musical scales. Initially, there was only one kind of Kolintang instrument which was a 2 octave diatonical melody instrument. It was usually played with other string instruments such as guitar, ukulele or string bass as accompaniment.

Kolintang is played by various peoplein North Sulawesi who still love their culture, from High School Students until the adult one. It is also played in various events, from exhibitions in a mall and building until governmental events.

Sameera ChathurangaPosted by Bryant

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