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Jackfruit-wood: drums

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There’s a rare opportunity to see traditional drums being produced at a workshop near Kompong Thom, look out for a small sign on the left 7km south of town on National Route 6. The small-waisted, vase-shaped skor dae, about 50cm tall, are carved here by hand from the heart of a jackfruit tree – the yellowish wood is valued for its resonant properties – and embellished with carved decorations; a dried snake skin is stretched across the head. The drums form part of the traditional pinpeat ensemble, a gamelan-style orchestra that plays at weddings and classical dance performances. Also made here are skor sang na, a kind of cylindrical drum, twice the height of skor dae, which are played slung over the shoulder during funeral processions. The welcoming family who own the workshop will encourage you to try your hand at drumming, and might give you an impromptu demonstration even if you don’t buy anything.

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