Angklung is a Sundanese traditional musical instrument made of two carved bamboo tubes that attached to a bamboo frame. To play an angklung, one should hold the top frame of the instrument with their left hand while the other hand shakes the base part. One angklung will produce only one note, that’s why it needs more than one angklung to play a song. Since it is very hard to play more than one angklung at a time, it is usually need more than one player to produce a single song. It will be better to have an angklung ensemble group to perform a complex song. In November 18, 2010, UNESCO has determined that angklung is a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
If people want to see how angklung been made and played, they can visit a place called Saung Angklung Udjo in Bandung , West Java. The place, which is inspired by the late Daeng Soetigna, the master of angklung, was established in 1967. The place, that once was only a place to learn how to play and make a good angklung, now become a place for them who want to watch and learn Sundanese traditional custom and performances. There will be a daily performance of Sundanese traditional attractions including angklung being held in that place.
When I visited the place, the performance began with a short performance of ‘Wayang Golek’ (Sundanese wooden puppet), then followed by ‘Helaran‘ which showed the audiences a traditional ritual to amuse a boy that got circumcised. At that occasion, usually the boy would be placed on a palanquin and carried around his village, while his friends paraded behind him playing angklung and any other traditional musical instruments.
After “Helaran”, some children showed their skill playing some children songs with angklung, followed by some teenagers play more complicated songs with some bamboo musical instruments. At that time, there were some teenagers from the Philippines, Myanmar, and some countries in the Pacific that had already spent 2 months there to learn how to play Sundanese traditional music, and at that occasion they showed us the abilities they got by playing some songs with angklung and other bamboo musical instruments, beautifully.
The next part was a traditional dance show, called Tari Topeng (Mask Dance), which performed by three little girls. And after the dance performance, Daeng Udjo himself came to teach the audiences how easy it was to play angklung. He then invited the audiences to play some songs together under his direction. And if the audiences played with only one angklung, there were a group of talented teenagers who could play more than five angklungs at a time. Conducted by Daeng Udjo, these talented teenagers presented some traditional and pop songs to the audiences.
The daily performance closed with the children of Saung Udjo invited the audiences to cheer, dance and play together in the arena.