Conservation of Bamboos Vital for Traditional Panpipe

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JOHN Houkarawa is a professional panpipe artist who has the passion of preserving his Are’ are culture and tradition through playing panpipe.

He, therefore, wants to look after bamboo trees, which panpipes are made out of and wants to keep them safe from overharvesting or destroying them.

Being a panpipe artist has been John’s dream since he was between the ages of 12-15 and as time passed he has perfected his talent now making him a professional panpipe artist.

He was brought up from a family whose parents and many relatives played panpipe and thus his passion for becoming one.

Panpipe is made out from bamboos and it is easy to find bamboo in the bush and forests, however, John said bamboo trees will be scarce if there are continuous logging and overharvesting of the trees.

Professional panpipe artist, John Houkarawa.

“Bamboos, just like other trees, are available in most areas in the bush and can be easily collected.”

“However, we are also selective in the kind of bamboo we use; we try them out for sound quality to see bamboo are loud enough and when played can be heard from about 200 meters far,” Houkarawa said.

He added that there are also effects on the environment that are seen causing them to become scarce.

“Logging has been the sole cause of this problem,” said Houkarawa.

“As I said, the bamboo that we use to make the panpipe can be easily found in the bush but there are times when it is hard to find them as well.”

“This is due to logging activities which have already rampaged our forests and destroyed our trees, including our bamboo trees,” said John.

Bamboo trees are also used for house materials to build houses and John said that this is starting to cause scarcity of the tree as overpopulation is demanding more houses to be built therefore more bamboo trees are harvested.

“Bamboo trees are not only used for panpipe playing but back at home, many people use them to build houses and also to cook foods.

“As the population is growing, people are expanding and more trees are being cut down, even bamboo trees are slowly disappearing,” said Houkarawa.

John wants the public to see bamboo trees as an important plant that provides people with shelter, cooking materials and most of all, a tree that can help us preserve our cultures and traditions.

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Lynda Wate
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