A group of children joyfully line up in traditional Sundanese costume, welcoming all visitors as they walk into the green bamboo hall of Saung Angklung Udjo Village in Bandung, West Java . Simply translated as Udjo’s House of Angklung, this one-stop cultural workshop offers a complete experience around angklung, Indonesia’s traditional musical instrument made of bamboo. Angklung consists of one single note, creating a soothing chord. It produces sound when it is shaken rapidly. An ensemble may consist of 3 or 4 players to a full orchestra playing the angklung repertoire.
Established in 1966 by the late Udjo Nalagena (1929-2001) and his beloved wife, Uum Sumiyati, Saung Angklung Udjo was built with purpose and dedication to conserve West Java ’s Sundanese traditional art and culture. It was Udjo Nalagena who brought the passion and principles which made Saung Angklung Udjo a place where Sundanese art and culture thrive and gained proper respect worldwide. His efforts to introduce and promote angklung finally paid off when UNESCO inscribed Angklung in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List in November 2010. His love and dedication for Sundanese art is manifested in this beautiful and tranquil complex, consisting of performance hall, a bamboo handicraft center, and bamboo instrument workshop.
Saung Angklung Udjo adopts the philosophy of easy, affordable, educative, attractive, massive, and cheerful performances that are essence of their ultimate show called “Kaulinan Urang Lembur”or villagers’ playtime. The show is packed with spectacular short performances, commencing with wayang golek (wooden puppet) show, helaran (agricultural harvesting celebration) rites, traditional dances, kids games, introduction to angklung, angklung orchestral performance, interactive angklung performance that involves visitors playing angklung, and arumba performance.
As the show comes to a close, the performing children invite visitors to join them in a group dance and games, making everyone feeling as if they are stepping back in time to their own childhood. The show then closes with cheerfulness and happy laughter. Ever since the beginning of the project, happy and dynamic performances done by local children have become the spirit of this unique place.
Saung Angklung Udjo also dedicates itself to the conservation and preservation of the natural environment. As a form of environmental responsibility, Saung Angklung Udjo cooperates with the Ministry of Forestry, getting involved in the ‘Indonesia Planting’ Campaign, known as Kampanye Indonesia Menanam, and created the Forestry Counseling Centre. Together, they run the “One Man, One Tree” program, educating visitors about the importance of planting trees and giving them the chance to participate in the program. This symbolizes the close relationship between culture and nature, as one cannot separate angklung from bamboo.
Located in the bustling eastern part of Bandung, Saung Angklung Udjo attempts to manifest beautiful harmony of vibrating bamboos that echo from this simple amphitheatre all the way to the other side of the world. It spreads the values of simplicity, co-operation, unity and togetherness, as well as maintaining mutual relationship between human and the environment. It teaches visitors the true meaning of conservation for both the cultural and natural environment through simple and enjoyable ways, namely by playing angklung and planting trees.