Angklungs and Txalapartas: Interactivity at Rainforest World Music Festival 2012

Sarawak Cultural Village musicians playing anklungs
Photo by Angel Romero
Music and dance fans were treated to an afternoon full of fun and interactivity on Saturday, July 14th at Rainforest World Music Festival 2012. The Dewan Lagenda stage at Sarawak Cultural Village was jam packed with festival goers eager to learn bhangra and Bollywood dance at the Now You Can Dance Like the Stars workshop. Drummers from Malaysia’s Diplomats of drum used dhol drums and showed attendees the dance moves.

An hour later, the Theatre stage presented Angling their Angklungs. This interactive workshop led by Narawi Rashidi focused on the bamboo angklungs which are found throughout Malaysia and Indonesia. The angklung consists of two to four bamboo tubes suspended in a bamboo frame, bound with rattan cords.

Workshop audience playing angklungs
Photo by Angel Romero
The tubes are carefully carved and cut by a master crafts person to produce certain notes when the bamboo frame is shaken or tapped. Each Angklung produces a single note or chord, so several players must collaborate in order to play melodies. The Angklung was inscribed in 2010 on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

After describing the history and background of the angklung, which originally came from Java in Indonesia, Mr. Rashidi directed a large ensemble of musicians, who are also trained as dancers, from Sarawak Cultural Village.

After the demonstration, the musicians distributed a large number of extra angklungs with different tunings to members of the audience. Mr. Rashidi showed participants in the audience how to sing and play along their angklungs to make communal music. The angklungs were later passed along to other audience members who hadn’t had an opportunity to play.

Harkaitz Martinez de San Vicente (left) & Mikel Ugarte Azurmendi (right) of OrekaTX performing on a wooden chalaparta at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2012 Workshop
Photo by Angel Romero
At the same Theatre stage, the angklungs were followed by another percussive instrument, the rare chalaparta (txalaparta in Basque). Chalaparta nearly died out 60 years ago. The original instrument consisted of several wooden beams struck vertically by sticks and performed by two musicians. Harkaitz Martinez de San Vicente of Oreka TX said that the origin of the instrument is not well known, but some believe that apple cider makers in Spain’s Basque Country used the wooden beams to press the apples and they followed a certain rhythm.

Young Basque musicians have renovated the chalaparta. You can now find chalapartas made out of other materials. Oreka TX brought three versions to the Rainforest World Music Festival: a tuned wooden chalaparta, a tuned stone chalaparta and a plastic barrel-like instrument. Although original chalapartas were not tuned, the ones used now by Basque musicians are tuned so that performers can play with other musical instruments. Renowned accordionist Kepa Junkera has used chalapartas in some of his recordings.

Find out more about the angklung.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


One thought on “Angklungs and Txalapartas: Interactivity at Rainforest World Music Festival 2012”

  1. Hi! I am Marco Oros from Slovakia. This is very interresting, what I read now. It’s a very pity, that I can’t visit this rainforest festival. Because I know about this instruments, only something. Thank You.

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