24 Aug Made an Eritrean ‘Krar’
The other day, the Kessels Instrument makers museum in Tilburg, where I volunteer, received a special request. From the reception centre for Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers in Tilburg, they enquired about the possibility, under supervision, of a ‘Krar-making’ workshop. The Krar is a small Eritrean stringed instrument that is widely played in Eritrea and that many children learn to play from an early age. A group of Eritrean youngsters thought it would be fun to make such an instrument themselves and their supervisor at COA; Bernt was willing to help them. He contacted the Kessels museum and went looking for a construction drawing and the materials needed to make such a krar himself. He started working on it at home. He made a test model and after a while he had made an Eritrean ‘krar’ just like that!
Since I am the ‘Africa’ specialist within the museum, Bernt’s question was passed on to me and I thought it would be nice to supervise such an activity in the museum’s workshop. Within the museum I got the green light so I made an appointment on a Tuesday afternoon. That’s when the museum is closed and the workshop is not occupied, a quiet moment to try out this activity for the first time.
On 26 June and 23 August and each time four boys from Eritrea, worked in the Kessels museum all afternoon and made an Eritrean krar under the guidance of Bernt and myself. They each worked on their own model. The boys were very enthusiastic and Bernt was also super satisfied: “Twice they worked all afternoon in one go, with all the attention and without breaks!”. It is possible that the activity will have a sequel and take place more often at the museum. Next time, some girls will probably come along.