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Ethnology of Tokelau Islands

Wind Instruments

Wind Instruments

Flageolets (fangufangu) were formerly made from the pithy stems of young kanava plants, but are now made from the recently introduced papaya tree, whose young branches are hollow and easily cut. The modern flageolets, usually played by young girls, vary in the number of notches cut on the upper surface from 1 to 6.

Whistles are made by the children from strips of pandanus or coconut leaves wound into a spiral- or cone-shaped trumpet.

Large conch shells (fao) (Charonia tritonis) are collected by divers in the lagoon at Atafu. A mouthpiece is formed by breaking off the point of the shell and a hole is chipped through one of the whorls a few inches below the broken point. Fishing captains use conch shells to call together the fleet. They were once used in the village to assemble the people but have been supplanted by the wooden gong and the penny whistle.

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