The Jakarta Post
Nowadays, children are often more familiar with adult songs than music appropriate for their age. With that in mind, Malang-based music group Arbanat String Ensemble aims to introduce traditional Indonesian music, including patriotic and children’s songs, through a series of mini concerts.
Titled “Simfoni Cinta Tanah Air” (Love the Motherland Symphony), the road show was first held in 2000. In the past 18 years, the group has performed in various elementary schools across Malang, East Java, giving students the opportunity to listen to national songs.
The road show is held annually in August, as part of the celebration of Indonesia’s Independence Day.
Aiming to spread the spirit of nationalism throughout Malang, the band usually visits three to four different schools each year.
On Wednesday, the group performed in Tunjungsekar 3 elementary school, playing various songs, including “Indonesia Tetap Merdeka”, “Yamko Rambe Yamko” and a popular track from South Sumatra “Gending Sriwijaya” using cello, guitar and violins.
Students read song lyrics during Arbanat String Ensemble's performance on Aug. 29. (JP/Nedi Putra AW)
The band’s leader Ugik Arbanat said after the performance, they found out that many of the students were not familiar with songs they performed.
Ugik mentioned that with some songs, such as “Indonesia Subur” and “Serumpun Padi”, rarely performed these days, students are simply unaware of them. This makes the group even more determined to do road shows in schools.
Ugik also realized that the current school curriculum was heavier than it was two or three decades ago, resulting in different approaches to teaching arts.
“These songs would be a lot easier to remember if performed in a fun atmosphere,” he said.
The concerts are free of charge and only need a small stage, as Arbanat String Ensemble can perform in classes and schoolyards. Schools are also not required to prepare anything as the band brings instruments and the sound system. (jes/wng)