Indonesian Classical Music from Sunda

Kacapi Suling Instrumental Ensemble

Original cassette cover The province of Sunda in West Java experienced an amazing resurgence of interest in its own musical traditions in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. Centered on the city of Bandung, this renewed vitality led to the nation-wide (and world-wide) popularity of traditional genres like Kacapi Suling and modern ones like jaipongan.

Kacapi Suling is usually played at interludes between songs in a performance of the classical song-form Tembang Sunda. The term refers to the two plucked string instruments and the flute. There is a higher-pitched kacapi rincik, a lower-pitched kacapi indung and the suling ornamenting the melody. During a dinner-to-dawn house concert of Tembang Sunda, instrumental pieces like these would offer light interludes between the weightiness of the songs. The pieces are in two scales. The first four are in laras pelog, conveying a lighter mood, while the next four are in laras sorog, a more somber mood. This change of key usually occurs around midnight, and lasts until dawn.

The ensemble on this recording is led by the suling virtuoso Burhan Sukarma, or simply Burhan S. The kacapi players are listed as Nana and Rukruk. It was recorded February 19, 1980 on the Dian label. Burhan now lives in San Josť, and is a founder of the performing troupe Pusaka Sunda.

The songs on this page are available thanks to the kind permission of the Dian Record company.

This page is being hosted by Patrick Alexander. Make sure to thank him by email.

  1. Arum Bandung
  2. Arang Arang/Renggong Gede
  3. Nimang/Kaleran
  4. Senggot/Tokecang/Tilam Sono
  5. Gawil
  6. Karanginan
  7. Bungur
  8. Sinyur

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