You can scarcely hear the sounds of an angklung (a traditional Indonesian music instrument) walking past the office building at Balong II Street, Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, where a group of blind people are practicing their skills with the traditional Indonesian musical instrument. This group is called the Saung Harmoni.
As it turns out, those group of people with disabilities were being taught by Suryo Pramono, who is also blind. Suryo said that the Saung Harmoni angklung community was formed back in 2009 and is starting to grab the public’s interest five years after.
There were 40 angklung instrument players in Saung Harmony when it started in 2009. “However, as time passed by many became inactive due to school, work, and moving out of town,” said Suryo Pramono on Monday, July 2.
Suryo Pramono said that it is not easy to train its members to manage a tune, which is the reason why he teaches fellow players to hold a single tune before moving to more elaborate tunes. Suryo calls a single note as a ‘fixed Do’, which is the angklung’s pure note that is not affected by the use of keys.
“So when they sound the C note, it is purely the C note that is heard,” said Suryo. Another challenge he revealed is that blind people such as his members could not be directed by a conductor to maintain a rhythm. The only solution to maintain it, according to Suryo is to consistently practice with one’s training.
Suryo said that the Saung Harmoni, which is seen to provide a psychological therapy for the disabled, have often performed on stage in public areas such as shopping malls, TV stations, and events held by Ministries or other state-institutions.