International Silat Federation of America & Indonesia

Silat Tuo, Silat Tradisional,

Silat Minangkabau

Traditional Indonesian Music & Dance

Gamelan Ensemble

A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. The tuning and construction of a gamelan orchestra is a complex process. Javanese gamelans use two tuning systems: sléndro and pélog. In general, no two gamelan ensembles are the same, and those that arose in prestigious courts are often considered to have their own style. In Indonesia, gamelan usually accompanies dance, wayang puppet perfonnances, or rituals or ceremonies.

Saman Dance

"Saman" the most popular dance in Aceh and the dance that has become well-known abroad with the name "Thousand hands". It has its origin from the Alas ethnic group and is normally performed to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad [S] and other important occasions. Eight to twenty male perfonners kneel in a row on the floor and make different kinds of torso movements accompanied by songs, clapping hands, slapping chests, slapping hands on the floor, etc. The songs are praises to Allah or prayers. The dance starts with slow movements and increases its tempo gradually to great speed and finally come to a sudden stop. There are many differcnt regional versions of "Saman".

Baris Dance

Baris Dance is a ceremonial dance from Bali. The word Baris itself means "lines" or can also be associated with soldiers forming lines, which is why this dance shows skills of a group of soldiers. This dance is a group dance performed by males, which is usually performed by 8 to 40 dancers with lively and dynamic yet sturdy music, accompanied by Gongs. The dancers usually bring weapons as well as tools of the ceremony and use different colored costumes.


Sasando is a traditional string musical instrument from Rote, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia. The shape of sasando is quite similar with other types of string instrument such as guitar, violin, or kacapi. The sasando consists of a body made from a hollow piece of bamboo, with a wooden head and foot. The old version of the sasando has 10 strings, stretched from the head to foot, and fastened at both ends with nails. The nails at the head can also be turned to adjust the tuning by altering the tension of the strings. This sound source sits inside a semi-spherical resonator made from leaves of the palmyra palm tree. A small sasando can be 30 cm wide, while a large one can be 50 cm long and 30 cm wide. Sasando music is used within the Timorese community for all kinds of social events, such as to celebrate the birth of baby, a wedding or death.

Golek Dance

The Golek Dance originated from the Yogyakarta Hadiningrat Court in Central Java. Compared to average Javanese court dances, the Golek dances have vivid characteristics because their choreography is inspired by dance outside the Javanese courts. This dance depicts court ladies who are preparing for a court festivity. They realise that one can be dressed with external beauty as well as with intcrnal beauty. The ladies try to see through the mcaning of beauty in human life, while observing themselves in the mirror.

Yapong Dance

Yapong dance is a contemporary dance from Jakarta, Indonesia, composed by Bagong Kussudiardjo, a famous choreographer from Yogyakarta, Java in 1970. Yapong is based on Betawi traditional style female dance. The music is very lively; it is a combination of a new Javanese melodic gamelan style with a modem beat.


Angklung is a traditional musical instrument that originated from Sunda, West Java, Indonesia. It is made of two bamboo tubes that resonate and produce a note when struck. Each angklung is tuned to play a particular note in an octave. The history of angklung can be dated back more than a thousand years ago during Sunda Kingdom when it was used as a way to foster community spirit as well as to praise the Goddess of Padi Dewi Sri. Angklung is played by shaking the instrument rapidly from side to side. It can be played solo or in an ensemble where each person plays a particular note.

Indonesian Choir

Choir is called "Paduan Suara" in Indonesian. It plays a relatively important role in Indonesian culture, often performed during important events such as wedding or special celebrations.

Kicir Kicir

This is a traditional song of Betawi people from Jakarta. The lyrics of the song actually consists of poems that have rhymes at the end of each sentence (similar to limericks). Each of these poems contains advice or consolation with a sense of humor, a very typical character of Betawi people.

Ondel Ondel

Ondel-ondel is a traditional song from Jakarta. Ondel-ondel is a giant puppet mascot used in Betawi's marriage, ceremonies, or the city of Jakatia's anniversary festivals. These puppets represent Betawi's ancestors who always guard and look after their descendants. The size of an Ondel-ondel puppet can be as high as 2.5 m and 80 cm in diameter. It is made of bamboo webbing and the hairs are made of fibre of palm tree. This traditional song contains invitation for watching the Ondel-ondel parade, accompanied by a lively musical arrangement and lyrics full of humor.


March 13th, 2009 by Staff

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