Lost in bamboo music

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Saturday, March 15, 2014


THE distinct sound of angklung, since I first heard them as a kid played by little girls in Pangkat Kawayan in some long ago television show I can no longer recall.

Not knowing much about Indonesia except that in my later years I learned that angklung is in fact made there and not the Philippines, I begged a very good friend to please, please, please buy me a set because he was going to Jakarta. I did get my small set, a single-scale one, with a lot of grumbles in between. It was only then when I realized that in the world’s largest archipelago, they specialize regionally. Meaning, you can only get angklung from Bandung and not in Jakarta. (At least, it’s on the same island… but that is much like saying Marawi and Davao are on the same island). I just had to suffer the grumbles, because that’s what friends do.

Thus, an invitation to an Angklung Musical Orchestra by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia at the SMX Convention Center last March 2 was irresistible, never mind if it was right smack in the middle of deadline hours. I did arrive an hour late, but the concert was three hours, so I still had to hours to enjoy.

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The concert brought a glimpse of Saung Angklung Udjo (Udjo’s House of Angklung), the one-stop cultural workshop for bamboo instruments in eastern Bandung.

The band was singing contemporary music, and some classic ballads rendered by a man who was introduced as someone from the embassy in Manila.

The singers were good, but I was more interested in listening to the bamboo; no offense meant, really. It was my first time ever to watch an angklung concert, so the human voices can go hang.

Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the show. I most enjoyed the part when the audience got to play their own angklungs. I got a C.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 16, 2014.

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