Indonesian Instruments: A Reflection of Cultural Diversity
The distinct array of musical instruments found throughout the Indonesian islands date back to the Bronze Age, with influences from Portugal, and the neighboring Middle East and India. Still used today, they typically include plucked and bowed strings, wind, and percussion instruments that are played alongside various performances. Hailing from islands like Java and Bali, Gamelan music - the most popular form of music throughout Indonesia - is made up of an ensemble of percussion instruments that accompany events such as traditional theater, ceremonies and even poetry readings.
As an integral part of communication, each instrument reflects how each island's culture differs. On the Rote Island, the sasando, a plucked string instrument, is played in order to bring harmony while advice is given to each seeker. Like in many other Asian countries, drums have age-old roots of being played in the background for births, deaths and other rituals. Equally unique, the careful craftsmanship that goes into each piece includes hand-painted art or carvings with vibrant creatures and designs that are one-of-a-kind to every island.