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Late last month, Harmony Week was observed across Australia to celebrate the nation’s cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and common sense of belonging. The ANU Indonesian Student Association (ANUISA), in collaboration with the Indonesian Embassy, contributed to the occasion with an angklung performance at the Department of Infrastructure Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC). We caught up with the creative team of students behind the performance to learn more about the event and the angklung.
Can you tell us a bit more about the team of performers that recently performed with the Indonesian angklung for the DITRDC?
The team of performers are ANU students, member and non-member of ANUISA, and some cultural staff members from the Indonesian Embassy. We were given the opportunity by DITRDC to perform during Harmony Week. The group comprises some students from CHL Anthropology, Crawford School of Public Policy, Statistics, Demography—so from all over the place, really!
The team rehearsing in the Coombs building
What do you most enjoy about the angklung or playing in this group?
Playing the angklung is really easy and fun. From the perspective of Indonesian students, we get the chance to introduce Indonesia’s culture to a wider audience. From a non-Indonesian student’s standpoint, it’s really fun to learn new instruments. The angklung is really fascinating, as the instrument is actually rhythmic but can be melodic; each angklung represents a single note.
How was the performance? What was the highlight for you as a group?
We prepared three songs for the performance. The first one is Terajana, a famous Indonesian dangdut song. The second and third ones were Waltzing Matilda and Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.
The team performing at the DITRDC
After the performance, we did a workshop and an impromptu performance involving some attendees learning how to play the angklung in a short span of time and performing Waltzing Matilda and Can’t Help Falling in Love with You!
Watch this video of the team performing Terajana during the ANUISA welcoming party event at Marie Reay Teaching Centre. The video of the performance at DITRDC will be available soon as well.
Are there any future performances planned?
We hope to be able to showcase more songs and perform at other events; in the meantime, we are still working out a way to achieve a consistent and continuous training routine and venue at ANU.
ANUISA has initiated an angklung team, but we are also planning to have the gamelan team in the future as part of our effort to become cultural ambassadors to introduce Indonesia’s rich traditional musical heritage to Australians. We decided on the angklung this time because it is very easy to play, and philosophically it unites people, as we need to play it in an ensemble.
The angklung team is open to every ANU student and staff member who wants to participate.