Ilham Nurwansah’s passion for archiving and even reviving Sundanese culture did not stop at carving “Karinding”, a musical instrument made of bamboo.
A Sundanese saying goes — “language is the identity of [a] nation” (Sundanese: asa téh cicirén bangsa”). The colonization era was complicated for Indonesia — a country with 700 languages — as it is hard to tell how it influenced the Sundanese language and culture. Ilham Nurwansah is on a mission to digitize old Sundanese-language (spoken by over 35 million people) text, and share encyclopedic information through the Sundanese Wikipedia. When not digitizing old Sundanese palm leaf manuscripts, he carves bamboo and palm and plays Karinding, a lamellophone instrument similar to Jew’s harp that originated from West Java and Banten in Indonesia. Made from different kinds of local bamboo varieties and midribs of palm trees, the sound of Karinding is “robotic” as Nurwansah’s explains. This short documentary has a narration and performance by Nurwansah that was recorded by Subhashish Panigrahi at the T-Centralen station in Stockholm, Sweden during Wikimania 2019.
Sundanese-language Wikipedia editor Ilham Nurwansah learned from a friend back home in East Java, Indonesia about carving from bamboo an instrument called Karinding. This lamellophone instrument that resembles the Jew’s harp. Nurwansah not only learned how to make Karindings for himself both from bamboo and palm but he also mastered how to play them. This short documentary, shot handheld at the T-Centralen station in Stockholm, Sweden during the Wikimania conference (Wikipedia’s annual conference), is a gateway to Sundanese folk music. Nurwansah is involved in a number of cultural documentation projects while contributing encyclopedic text to the Sundanese Wikipedia.
|Name in Sundanese||Karinding|
|Name in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)||kɑːɾin̪d̪iŋg|
|Country of production||India|
|Country of Origin||Sweden|
|Filming location(s)||T-Centralen station, Stockholm, Sweden|
|Year of Production||2019|
|Release Dates||27 July 2020 (India)|
|Duration/running time||3 minutes (appx.) / 00:03:19 (hh:mm:ss)|
|Distribution company||O Foundation (OFDN)|
|Production company||O Foundation (OFDN)|
|Keywords||Sundanese, Sunda, Java, Indonesia, language|
|Permanent media archive||Film on Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/gyani-maiya)|
|Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR)||EIDR: 10.5240/15FD-F65B-F01B-846E-EB71-E|
|Summary||Ilham Nurwansah’s passion for archiving and even reviving Sundanese culture did not stop at carving “Karinding”, a musical instrument made of bamboo.|
|Film type||Documentary Feature|
|Spoken Languages||Sundanese; English|
|Frame Rate||24 fps|
|Captions||English (Closed Caption), English (Open Caption)|
You can watch the film online on the Internet Archive or download to watch offline for free of cost. You are most welcome to contact the producer if you would like to conduct a discussion post screening.
- “Digitally-Documenting the Sundanese Language and Cultural Heritage“. O Foundation Conversations (podcast). 24 July 2020.
- Le Guen, Laila. Q&A: Meet Ilham Nurwansah, Sundanese language activist. Rising Voices. (23 June 2020)
- Nurwansah, Ilham. “Playing Karinding in Stockholm“. iNurwansah. 8 December 2020.
Last updated: 2021-05-12
Cite this film
© 2020. Subhashish Panigrahi & OFDN. CC-BY-SA 4.0