Watching A Memorable Show at Saung Angklung Udjo

This is the second post of my notes from our holiday in Bandung, and it’s about my awesome experience watching the angklung show in Saung Angklung Udjo. I hope you enjoy it!

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If you’re not familiar with Saung Angklung Udjo yet, it is a place to learn angklung that was built by Udjo Ngalagena with a purpose to conserve West Java’s Sundanese traditional art and culture.

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When I saw the performance, I noticed that the children who learn angklung there and participated in the performance were approximately around the age 2-17. As a tourism destination, Saung Angklung Udjo always have a show every day from 3.30 to 5.30pm. It is also to fasilitate the children’s learning in playing angklung and to train their self-confidence.

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In one show, they do a lot of performances. From ‘Wayang Golek’ (Indonesian traditional puppets) performance, to the various angklung performances. But in this post, I will only tell you two of the performances that were very memorable for me.

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The first memorable experience in Saung Angklung Udjo was the performance from one of the third generation of Udjo Ngalagena. In this performance, he asked all of the audience to learn how to play angklung together!

This was the first time I watched a show that’s really interactive. Usually, the audience in a show like this just sit and watch from the beginning until the end without doing any participation. But in Saung Angklung Udjo, it was very different. So it was so interesting to know that there’s a show like this in our country’s tourism destination. I think all of the tourists who come here will really enjoy it.

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There were several steps in the way all of the audience learned to play the angklung. First, we need to check the number and the name of the angklung that we hold by seeing on the bottom part of it. From there, the grandson of Udjo Ngalagena showed us the sign of each notes with his hands. He has different signs for different notes. Then, we practice first by playing the simple ‘do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-si-do’ notes, following his sign. And after several times practicing, finally we played several songs together with the angklung.

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The second performance that I really like was the Angklung Orchestra. In this orchestra there were 10 members. Each member holds about 10 angklung. That fact is really mindblowing if you ask me, because I heard that usually a person perform with less than 10 angklung. So maybe you can imagine how hard they work together just to finish one song.

The songs that they played were Mission Impossible and Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I have included two videos below and I hope you can enjoy.

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The whole show was closed by a very fun activities: Dancing together with the children of Saung Angklung Udjo! All the Saung Angklung Udjo’s students go up to the audience seats and each of them asked one audience to go on the stage with them. We danced together following a number of traditional songs. For me, by closing the show with this kind of ending really makes the audience feel welcome in there, and I enjoy it very much.

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The other thing that I personally like is that the MC always translate anything that she said. She also tried to make a lot of conversations with the audience, so the foreign tourists understands what she said and it makes the show enjoyable for everyone.

Lastly, I really appreciate how Saung Angklung Udjo has managed to reserve West Java culture in such a fun and unique way. And I wish in the future, there will be more tourism destinations that have creative performance like this in Indonesia. Well, see you in my next post!

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