By Nelly Andon
If you are an Indonesian living abroad and a lover of Indonesian culture diversity, you would probably occasionally hear yourself moaning or grumbling “why on earth does Indonesia only promote gamelan and angklung music instruments globally out of thousands of musical instruments own by the people of this land?” Do I actually say that because I am a non-Javanese origin? Do I say that because I am envious that Gamelan has found its place in the list of global musical instruments instead of the Batak Gondang? No, certainly not. I just feel sad that a country with over 17 thousand islands, with thousands of ethnic groups, each with their own culture and musical instruments, and yet we only show 2 musical instruments to the world. I suppose it is a bit like how the world knows Indonesia. How many people do really know that Indonesia is that enormous country and Bali is just a little dot on its archipelago, and yet when you talk about Indonesia to many foreigners, they can only think of Bali? Enough about the moan, time for us to celebrate the diversity of Indonesian music, and the thousands of instruments we can all enjoy. We can start by unravelling these amazing instruments and let the world see what we have.
Meet Nick, an Australian student who is passionate about Kupang and Sasando music instrument. Sasando is originally from Rote island, but is now very popular in Kupang and developed and promoted further by several Sasando Centers in the region such as the Sasando Center managed by Pak Pah and the Edon’s Family. Sasando is a unique instrument, made from wood and lontar leaves and produces amazing and distinctive music. Nick loves Indonesia and its cultural diversity. He agrees that there are more to Indonesian music than gamelans & angklung. Watch this video, and see how Nick master Sasando within a very short space of time. After only several weeks, Nick was able to play this music. Well done to him.