Category: Traditional Dance

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung

Saung Angklung Udjo
Angklung

The Angklung is an Indonesian musical instrument that is made from bamboo. It is made up from eight or more individual frames, each producing one of the eight notes on the musical scale. Depending on the type of Angklung, the musician either shakes or strikes the frames to produce music. When combined with other instruments in an orchestra, the Angklung contributes a beautiful twist.

The performance at Saung Angklung Udjo features the Angklung, but also incorporates Wayang Golek (wooden puppets), traditional dance, and the children’s orchestra into the show, so it’s interesting to watch as well as listen to.

The show begins with an abbreviated Wayang Golek demonstration of about 20 minutes.

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
There is an intricate story here...

A full performance typically goes for eight hours. Wayang Golek is a traditional Sudanese theater drama performed by wooden puppets. At the beginning of the performance, all the puppets that will be in the show are lined up in front of the stage. The puppets on the left are the bad guys, and on the right, you have the good guys.

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
Wayang Golek

Wayang is written to characterize different aspects of human personality – greed, anger, lust, empathy, joy, etc. There are many popular renditions, but they all deliver a moral message. Usually, the message is to treat others as you want to be treated – the seeds we sew determine the harvest we reap.

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
Saung Angklung Udjo Children's Orchestra is made up of their students.

The Helaran is used both as a circumcision, and harvest celebration. After a circumcision, all the boy’s friends gather in joyous celebration to make him forget the pain. The harvest celebration is a festive celebration of thanksgiving.

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
Heleran

Two segments of Kandaga Mask Dance are also performed. The dance tells the story of the Kencana Wungu Queen being chased by Prabu Menakjingga, who was madly in love with her. There are two acts to the dance – one without masks, and one with.

The first act – The Queens bodyguard investigating the situation.

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
Kandaga Mask Dance

The second act – The bodyguard fights Prabu Menakjingga.

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
Kandaga Mask Dance

The final dance is the Angklung Jalpong. It’s an erotic dance that originated from the Ketuk Tilu folk dance.

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
Angklung Jalpong
Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
Angklung Jalpong

The audience gets to participate during the show too. They teach everyone to play the Angklung by giving everyone an instrument that plays a single note. Each instrument is numbered – the conductor uses a variety of hand signals to let you when to shake your Angklung. And, following the final dance, the audience is invited onto the dance floor to dance with the performers. It’s all good fun!

Saung Angklung Udjo Bandung
The audience getting in on the act...

The late Udjo Ngalagena founded Saung Angklung Udjo in 1966, with his wife Uum Sumiati. Today is is operated by his son. It is a combination workshop, education center, and cultural center.

The workshop strives to produce the finest Angklungs in Indonesia.

As an education center, children attend their regular school in the morning, and study music here in the afternoon.

The cultural center strives to preserve Sundanese culture offers the daily performances that are held daily from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. Admission is Rp.80,000.

Their address is Saung Angklung Udjo, Jl. Padasuka 118, Bandung. Ph. +62 22 727 1714, or +62 22 710 1736. E-mail: info@angklung-udjo.co.id

Puyang Gadis Theater at Taman Mini Jakarta

Puyang Gadis Stage Taman Mini Jakarta


Saturday night was an interesting evening at Taman Mini, or Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park, in Jakarta. The South Sumatra pavilion hosted a special performance of Puyang Gadis Theater – a theater performance about a legend in South Sumatra in which a girl whom has the favor of a powerful Sultan, chooses to marry her brother instead; ultimately losing her life.

Taman Mini has 26 pavilions that culturally represent much of the diversity of Indonesia. They hold regular performances of traditional theater, music, and dance from all around Indonesia – highly recommended!

The evening began with delicious dinner of traditional South Sumatran food like Beef Randang – a very unique and delicious curried beef, and Sumatra Chicken Curry. Yep, Sumatran food is very spicy. If you like curry, chili, ginger, coriander, and lots of garlic, you’ll be right at home in Sumatra.

Following a few opening songs from some very talented singers…

The story begins…

Once upon a time in the small South Sumatran village of Kupang Lama, there lived a beautiful girl named Siti Lam Jenah. Siti was from a very poor family, so she had to live with her oldest brother Bujang Juaro, who was very famous.

One day Siti, and the other girls from the village went to the river to bathe and to wash clothes. The traditional bathing bowls are called Takuk Labu. Siti was not very attentive, and she allowed her Takuk Labu to float out into the river where it was picked up by a passing merchant ship.

It was a very fine Takuk Labu, so when the merchant ship reached port, the sailors turned it over to the boat’s owner, the Sultan of Palembang. The Sultan asked his Shaman to examine the Takuk Labu, and the Shaman said the bowl had been owned by the most beautiful girl in all of Sumatra.

Intrigued, the Sultan decided to visit Kupang Lama to find the girl and marry her. The villagers were quite surprised the day the Sultan arrived in his fine boat. The Shaman demanded to know where the owner of the Takuk Labu was, but they would not tell him. The Sultan said he would return in three days, and the girl must be handed over him then.

Fearful that the Sultan would not marry her, but make her a concubine, she decided to marry her brother, Bujang Juaro, who loved her very much. But there was the problem of the Sultan coming back. They hatched a plan – they would bury Siti alive so the Sultan could not find her.

When he arrived three days later, the Sultan was furious the villagers would not tell him where Siti was. He ordered his men to search the village, but to no avail. Ultimately he challenged Bujang Juaro to a fight to secure the whereabouts of Siti. Unfortunately for the Sultan, Bujang Juaro defeated him.

But, tragically for Bujang Juaro, after he defeated the Sultan, he remembered he had forgotten to give Siti a flute to breath through. Frantically, he dug where they had buried her, but could just find clothes, and jewelry.

The entire village was grief stricken. Then they heard Siti’s voice, “In the future there will be other beautiful women from Kupang Lama, but their years will never be long in order to prevent this from happening again.”

To this day, the villagers of Kupang Lama believe that beautiful young girls will die young, before they have a chance to marry.



Puyang Gadis Stage Taman Mini Jakarta


Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta


Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta


Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta


Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta


Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
Siti bathing by the river.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
The Sultan and his Shaman arrive by boat, to look for Siti, the most beautiful woman.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
The Shaman examines Siti's Takuk Labu.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
The Shaman wants to know where Siti is.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
The Sultan departs, and will return in three days.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
The villagers bury Siti alive to hide her from the Sultan.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
Bujang Juaro, Siti's brother, fights the Sultan and defeats him.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
All Bujang Juaro can find is Siti's clothes, and some jewelry. Then he remembered he forgot to give her a flute to breathe through and realizes Siti has died.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
There is much grief.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
Much grief....



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
Siti descending from heaven with the words - In the future there will be other beautiful women from Kupang Lama, but their years will never be long in order to prevent this from happening again.



Puyang Gadis Theater Taman Mini Jakarta
The Final Dance



Puyang Gadis Cast
Me With the Puyang Gadis Cast



Taman Mini is a nice place to go to get a glimpse of what Indonesia is all about. For some more information, my previous posts, Taman Mini Indonesia, and Yogyakarta Classical Dance Performance at Taman Mini, are interesting. Also, we have a full page on Taman Mini on our website – GoTravelIndonesia.com.


Getting There

Taman Mini is located in East Jakarta. It’s easiest to get there by taxi. It will cost roughly Rp. 70,000 in a Blue Bird taxi or about Rp. 50,000 in an Express taxi, if you’re going from Central Jakarta. The driver will ask if you want to use the toll road, which will cost an additional Rp. 8,500 in tolls but it’s well worth the time savings.

Operating hours – The park is open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Admission fees – At the main gate (built in the traditional style of a Javanese split gate), visitors are charged Rp. 9,000.

Enjoy Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park – Taman Mini!

Yogyakarta Classical Dance Performance at Taman Mini

Yogyakarta Art

I arrived at the Yogyakarta (Jogjakarta) pavilion at Taman Mini Park in Jakarta, for the special Yogykarta dinner and classical dance performance not expecting too much. I had been invited, during my previous visit, to attend by Mr. (pak) Muhiddin Syachruddin, who works in the information office at Taman Mini. Often times these kinds of random invitations don’t turn out too well.

This time was different! Pak Muhiddin had promised me VIP seats, and he delivered way beyond expectations. It turned out that this was a special performance that several ambassadors would be attending. I was seated in the diplomatic section right behind the Ambassador of Pakistan. I was a little embarrassed for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not a diplomat – I was very happy nobody from the U.S. embassy was there! Second, I was  called up on stage as an honored guest from the USA, right along with all the diplomats; I was wearing jeans and trainers, because my host had told me it was a causal event – everyone else was in more formal clothing.

Oh well, that aside, the evening was spectacular. After a very nice dinner that featured specialties from Jogjakarta such as Nasi Gudeg (rice served with boiled egg, chicken, tofu, and tempe cooked in a thick, sweet coconut sauce), and Kipo Kotagede (bite-size morsel made from coconut inside a tapioca dough), some very talented dancers performed three dances.

The Retno Asri Dance is a short introductory dance that is adopted from a variety of different movements from Yogyakarta classical dance. It tells the story of young girls growing up in a dynamic, high-spirited way.


The Retno Asri Dance java classical
The Retno Asri Dance Performers



The Retno Asri Dance Classical Java
The Retno Asri Dance Performers



The Retno Asri Dance Classical Java
The Retno Asri Dance Performers



The Beksan Menak Putri Dance
The inspiration for the movement for this dance came from Wayang Golek Menak Puppet Theater. It was created by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX. It’s a story of romance and power – a fight to the death in which Dewi (goddess) Adaninggar attempts and fails to kill her rival Dewi Kelaswara.



The Kumborokarno Leno (The Death of Kumbokarno)
The third episode of the four episode Ramayana Epic that tells the tale of a war between the leaders of two kingdoms – Rama and Rahwana. It ends with the tragic death of the exiled patriot and hero – Kumbakarna .




There are many special performances during the year at the various pavilions of Taman Mini. Their website has the current schedules. I really enjoyed this event and heartily recommend attending similar events – even without the VIP seating.