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Beautiful Queen Jewel in the research crown

A Monash University researcher has been honoured with the title of “queen” by the Indonesian province of Lampung for her work on the origins of traditional musical instruments.

Margaret Kartomi from Monash University’s School of Music was dubbed Ratu Berlian Sangun Anggun (Beautiful Queen Jewel), by the governor of Lampung on 9 January.

The title is usually reserved for Lampung clan members and formerly for royalty.

Since beginning her work on Lampung’s traditional music in 1980, Kartomi has “rediscovered” the gamolan, an eight-keyed bamboo instrument played by two musicians, historically used by people in northern and north-western Lampung.

The gamolan was almost lost in contemporary times, but has enjoyed a resurgence among Lampung residents as a result of Kartomi’s work.