After just over a week in the Indonesian city of Solo – aka Surakarta – working with Indonesian artist Tesla Manaf as part of the British Council’s Connections Through Culture initiative, we travelled over night by train to Bandung, a city few hours south of the capital Jakarta. While there, as well as meeting up with the British Council, Tesla also arranged a recording session with the supremely talented multi-instrumentalist Manshur Praditya who plays (and built his own) Angklung.
The instrument is made from bamboo and its name derives from the ‘klung’ sound it makes when the bamboo poles are shaken. In 2010, UNESCO recognised the instrument as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity‘ and encouraged the Indonesian government to promote performances, safeguard and encourage craftsmanship of the Angklung. Whilst being a very traditional Indonesian instrument normally played by holding it and shaking the upright poles, Manshur has completely re-designed, adapted and modified his own Angklung so it’s played by pressing keys, in a similar method to a piano. Ingenious musical engineering!