Gentra Pasundan,
Sundanese Wedding Ceremony
(Interra, 1997)

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this CD that "documents the complete 'Sundanese Wedding Ceremony' of West Java." According to the blurb on the back insert, "Indonesia consists of thousands of islands each with its own culture. The traditional wedding ceremony is distinct in each region of [the] archipelago."

This and the track titles outlining the stages of the ceremony are the only bits of information given to the listener. There's not even anything on the musicians, although a search on the Web suggests that Gentra Pasundan is a band led by blind suling (bamboo flute) player Ujang Suryana. The recording also makes good use of the gamelan, an ensemble of percussion instruments including drums and sets of gongs that is a staple of Indonesian music.

A pair of singers, male and female, enhance the sound, and while I didn't understand the language, I did enjoy the melodies and the timbre of their voices. The gamelan music is at times repetitive and hypnotic but always intriguing.

Sundanese Wedding Ceremony provides the opportunity for those not familiar with Indonesian/Sundanese culture to broaden their perspectives.

[ by Donna Scanlon ]
Rambles: 31 August 2002

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