AIYA ACT held an Indonesian Cultural Night on Friday 13 May. The aim of the night was to connect with ANU students and the wider Canberra community in a celebration of Indonesian culture, music and food.

The Indonesian Embassy was gracious enough to lend us 50 angklung for our AIYA participants and members to play on the night. While the gamelan orchestra is arguably the best-known Indonesian instrument, angklung is celebrated in itself. As the instruments are small and made from lightweight bamboo, they are easier to transport and play. They also sound distinctly different from the instruments Australians are most familiar with. One of the participants described the sound as ‘magical rain’.

Enthusiastic participants of the angklung session. Photo: Freya Gaunt

Enthusiastic participants of the angklung session. Photo: Freya Gaunt

A few Indonesian students from AIYA and ANU’s Indonesian Students’ Association created a small orchestra that performed for the group. After this performance, it was the participants’ turn to play the angklung. Flora, our wonderful conductor, divided everyone into groups according to each angklung’s pitch. Each group was then given a number, and played their angklung whenever Flora held up her fingers to indicate its number. After only 15 minutes, the group had mastered a simple scale and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Finally, after having a much-needed dinner-break, the group was able to play the Indonesian classic, “Tanah Airku.” To finish the music segment, the orchestra treated us to a spontaneous angklung rendition of “Lucky” by Jason Mraz.

The other aim of the evening was to promote Indonesian culture through its wonderful food. A local Indonesian catering company prepared an Indonesian buffet so the rendang was authentically oily, the ayam kremes was perfectly crispy and the sambal definitely had the Indonesian-level of spice! Another highlight was the dessert, where we enjoyed dadar gulang, kue lapis and enting-enting.

Photo: Freya Gaunt

Even on a cold ACT evening, members of AIYA and the wider community turned out in force to celebrate Indonesian (musical) culture. Photo: Freya Gaunt

The purpose of the event was to engage and facilitate student interaction between undergraduate and postgraduate students alike, whether or not they had a direct interest in Indonesia. AIYA ACT was very pleased to see both old and new faces, and is looking forward to hosting our next event!

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