UNS Cultural Course 2016 has been running for a week. After learning bahasa Indonesia and Javanese culture in classroom lessons, the participants of UNS Cultural Course visited and stayed a night in Pentingsari Village, Cangkringan, Sleman, Jogjakarta at the first weekend of the course.
They headed there on Friday August 12, 2016. The first thing they did was seeing and experiencing rice field traditional plowing and planting paddy. They all looked happy and excited when they rode the garu, a traditional wooden plow attached to the back of a cow or buffalo. This was their first time seeing the process of preparing the field and planting the paddy.
Shortly after that, they walked along, exploring a river where the irrigation for the rice field came from. After taking a short walk, they went back to home since the day was getting dark and they needed to prepare themselves for the next activities. Though it was a bit tiring, Mami from Japan said it was an enjoyable day.
In the night, they saw a “Gamelan” show, Javanese traditional music, and dance performance. The first dance they saw was Punokawan dance. It was about a family of a father and his three sons. In the middle of the performance, some of the participants joined dancing with them.
They were also taught Gambyong dance moves. This dance was commonly performed in an opening ceremony of certain occasions. The dance moves reflected the gestures of Javanese people, emphasizing the body movements such as nodding head, tiptoeing, turning around, back-forwarding, and flicking shawl. Although this dance was generally performed by ladies, it wasn’t uncommon for men to perform the dance. The dance moves of a man performer were a bit different though from those of woman performer. Among the participants, Ayako from Japan looked really enjoying the dancing practice, and she could dance well, too.
At the end of the session, they had a chance to try and play Gamelan for the song “Sluku-sluku Bathok”. They were guided by several instructors in the beginning. In playing Gamelan, coordination was essential. They were needed to pay attention to the tempo to synchronize with other instruments’ sounds.
Besides, unlike modern music instruments, each Gamelan instrument had several parts or segments having different sounds. Thus, players needed to understand and concentrate on the correct parts of the instrument to produce the correct sounds. They were actually good because they could quickly understand the directions given by the instructors and perform an enjoyable Gamelan collaboration after only a few tries.