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Leuk Bi Boko


From Sri Hastanto's Collection

This ensemble consists of three plucked instruments called leuk bi boko and one wind instrument called feku. The music accompanies a vocal line that has a special technique. The text of the vocal line includes traditional legend, love expression and many others.

Reasons for selection

Leuk Bi Boko is one example of a small music ensemble that includes vocal line using a specific technique. This kind of vocal technique is found only in eastern parts of Indonesia like Flores and Timor island. Leuk Bi Boko is music of village (forest)society in West Timor that still exist as part of traditional life in that island.

Area where performed

West Timor Island, East Nusa Tenggara province

Essential elements of the performing art


Detailed explanation

Leuk Bi Boko is traditional music from village of Nusa in West Timor, East Nusa Tenggara province. Leuk means plucking, and boko means gourd, so the leuk bi boko means plucked instrument with dry forest gourd as its resonator. Indeed the leading instrument in this ensemble is a plucked instrument. There are three leuk bi boko all together in this ensemble that follow a vocal line supported by a wind instrument called feku.

The vocal technique is rather unusual, but this kind of voice colour is common in eastern parts of Indonesia including Timor and Flores Island. The musicians said that melody in this music is not so important, but the content of the text of the vocal line is important. The song is always sung by a single voice to provide the clear meaning of every word. The content of the song varies from legends to expression of love or the beauty of their panorama. Sometimes the song is also used as a news medium from one group of society to others.

On relaxed occasions the singer often composes his song to tempt the audience so that they may replay it freely using melodic sentence or just shouting. The music is still popular among youngsters in villages for their entertainment.

Another uniqueness of this music is its tuning system. The instruments follow heptatonic system (which is not precisely heptatonic)but the vocal line sometimes matches the instrument's tone, sometimes using their own system that varies from one village to another.

Publication and textual documentation


Audio documentation

very limited (for example purposes only)

Visual documentation

very limited (for example purposes only)

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

Directorate for the Arts, Directorate General for Culture, Department of National Education.

Data provider

Dr. Sri Hastanto
Director for the Arts
Directorate for the Arts, Directorate General for Culture, Department of National Education
Address: Gedung E Lantai-9 Komplek Depdikbud, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia