The sasando (a musical instrument) and the Ti’i Langga (a hat) are well-known symbols of Rote Ndao Regency.sasando

  • The sasando is a Rotenese string musical instrument, found nowhere else outside East Nusa Tenggara. The instrument of 28 strings (consisted of 15 thick strings and 13 thin strings) has unique resonance. It is made from a lontar palm leaf. Originally, the sasando was called the sasando gong and consisted of fewer strings. It was later developed into the sasando biola (violin sasando) that sounds more like a harp. Performers such as Berto Pah in Indonesia Mencari Bakat usually play the sasando biola as a solo player. The sasando gong has become less popular recently. Nowadays the sasando is modified and modernized further for the comfort of traveling and public performances so that the leaf can now be folded somewhat like a hand-fan and it can be plugged to an amplifier. However, the modernized sasando is less likely to be found crafted in Rote Ndao Regency, than Timor, more specifically in Oebelo Village. In Rote Ndao there are still a few places where the sasando is taught and practised.


  • The Ti’i Langga on the other hand, is a traditionally crafted lontar leaf hat resembling a Mexican sombrero hat. The hat is worn by male Rotenese, more so in past years, to protect them from the sun while working outside (for example, while tapping the sap of lontar trees). It is made up of lontar leaf webbings and constructed without the aid of glue, sometimes even ornamented with coloured straps that complement the Rotenese tastes of rather simple artistry.