Indonesian Cultural Night at the University of Michigan
On February 20th, 2010, Permias Ann Arbor, the Indonesian Students Association at the University of Michigan, held their annual Indonesian Cultural Night. This year's theme was The Legend of the Prambanan, a grand Hindu temple in Central Java, Indonesia.
The evening began with a catered meal of traditional Indonesian food for the guests. In the meantime, there were displays set up featuring Indonesian artwork, batik fabric, and tourism information. After dinner everyone was invited down the hall to the auditorium where the cultural performances would be held.
The program consisted of multiple vignettes all contributing to the story of the Prambanan. The evening got underway with everyone singing the Indonesian National Anthem then a few words of welcome from Mr. Benny, from the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Chicago. The evening included the following performances:
Paduan Suara (Choir)
Choir is called "Paduan Suara" in Indonesian. It plays a relatively important role in Indonesian Culture, often performed during important events such as weddings or special celebrations.
This is a traditional song of the Betawi people form Jakarta. The lyrics of the song consist of poems that have rhymes at the end of each verse (similar to limericks). Each of these poems contains advice or consolation with a sense of humor, a very typical character of Betawi people.
Yamko Rambe Yamko
Yamko Rambe Yamko is a traditional song from Papua, Eastern Indonesia. The lyrics of the song talk about heroism and bravery. This song is full of spirit and is sung in a fast paced tempo, showing the energetic nature of the song.
Yapong Dance is a contemporary dance from Jakarta, composed by Mr. Bagong Kussudiardjo, a famous choreographer from Yogyakarta in 1970. Yapong is based on the Betawi traditional style of female dance. The music is very lively; it is a combination of new Javanese melodic Gamelan style with a modern Western beat.
Sasando is a traditional string musical instrument from Rote Island, Nusa Tenggara Timur. The sasando consists of a body made from hollow piece of bamboo, with a wooden head and foot. The old version of Sasando has only 10 strings, stretched from head to foot, and fastened at both ends with wooden nails. To make the sound of Sasando louder, a semi spherical resonator made the leaves of palmyra palm tree are installed at the back of the body. Sasando is performed in the Eastern Indonesian community for all kinds of social events such as celebrations, the birth of a baby, weddings, or even funerals.
Sapu Tangan Dance
Sapu Tangan Dance is a traditional dance from Talaok, West Sumatra. This dance is commonly performed by young females using scarves as the dancing props. The Sapu Tangan Dance expresses cheerfulness and togetherness of the community and has many similarities with other dances from Sumatra.
Topeng (mask) dance originated from Java, Indonesia. It is performed by dancers either individually or in a group. There are many different types of masks with a rich variety of colors. Each different color represents different human emotions and character. For instance, Kencana Wungu, a blue mask, represents a lively but elegant character. Menak Jingga (also called wanderer), a red mask, represents temperamental and impatient character. Topeng Dance can be experienced in an array of village ceremonies, including those highlighting worship of the ancestors, marriage ceremonies, harvest season activities, circumcisions, and important family and community gatherings.
Angklung is a traditional musical instrument originated from Sunda, West Java. It is made of two bamboo tubes that resonate and produce a note when struck. Each angklung instrument is tuned to play a particular note in an octave. The history of angklung can be dated back to more than a hundred years ago during the Sunda Kingdom. It was then used as a way to foster community spirit as well as to praise the Goddess of Rice, Dewi Sri. Angklung, played by shaking the instrument from side to side, is commonly played in an ensemble where each person plays a particular note.
Manuk Rawa dance is performed by a group (between 5 and 7 people) of dancers. It is a modern dance that describes the behavior of a group of birds, Manuk, in a swamp, Rawa, as narrated in the story of the Mahabharata Epic. The dance movements are fusions of classical Balinese dance as well as both Javanese and Sundanese traditional dance. This dance was created in 1981 by I Wayan Dibia, a Balinese choreographer, and I Wayan Beratha, a Balinese composer. Before becoming a freelance dance, Manuk Rawa is part of the Mahabharta performances annually displayed in Bali Art Festival in 1980.