Sounds of East Timor

Issue 

Sounds of East Timor

By Sally Anne Watson

DARWIN — During the Portuguese colonisation of East Timor, an isolated indigenous group, the Ilimanu, lived in the north-east of the island. With the Timorese revolution in 1974, Ilimanu joined the struggle for independence. During the Indonesian invasion in 1975 and in the following years, many were killed by the military whilst defending their country.

Darwin's resident Timorese band was formed a year ago. The musicians call themselves Ilimanu, in memory and in solidarity with East Timor's indigenous people and with the ongoing struggle for freedom.

Victor Lay described why he and his friends got together to form the band. "The reasons were firstly to maintain our traditional East Timorese music so that Timorese youth who live in Australia maintain their identity as Timorese. Then, when we return to our country to rebuild it, we will be able to continue with our traditional music. Although we use modern instruments now, the music is the same.

"Secondly, our music is part of the struggle of our country's independence. One way to create public awareness of East Timor's tragic situation is to play music, to show the Australian public part of our culture so that they might be moved to feel more strongly for our problems in East Timor. Music can affect people more than words; it makes them feel much more deeply from their hearts."

You can sometimes catch Ilimanu with their catchy traditional music at the Mindil Beach Markets. For more details phone 856 820.