Saturday, May 9, 2020

History of Sasando, Amazing Instrument From Indonesia

Sasando, which is translated as Sasandu (sound produced from vibrations) was born from the inspiration of its discoverer and the result of interaction with nature. From the story of the legend of the people of Rote, There are various versions of the history of the birth of this instrument.

"Let's together we make Sasando as a world musical instrument that can be played by everyone everywhere" #sasandofortheworld -Natalino Mella

Story 1, it is said that originally was a compilation of young men named Sangguana (1950s) stranded on the island of Ndana while at sea, he was taken by residents to the King at the Palace. It was during his stay at the palace that the senior talent possessed by Sangguana was immediately known to many people so that the Putripun was captivated. He asked Sangguana to create an instrument that had never existed before. One night Sangguana dreamed that he was playing a musical instrument that was beautiful in form and voice. Inspired by this dream, Sangguana created a musical instrument called Sandu (meaning to vibrate). When she was playing the Princess asked what song was playing and Sngguana answered "Sari Sandu". He gave the musical instrument to the Princess, who later named it Depo Hitu, which means Once the Seven Stringed Picks Are Vibrating (the story of Sangguana was raised by Yusuf Nggebu Alm, published in Kompas Online, in 2002).

Story 2, Sasando was discovered by two shepherds named Lumbilang and Balialang (told by Jeremias Pah). When farming with sheep, they bring a palm leaf, when thirsty in the afternoon they fold the palm leaves to draw water. To fold, the center of the light yellow leaf must be removed and when it is released, the rope is fastened. Unexpectedly, when pulled loudly it produces different tones. However, because they often interrupted, they then pulled out the sticks. Finally, they found that if they were linked together they would make a high pitch and vice versa, the string would produce a low pitch (Sasando Rote, 17 January 2008).

Story 3, Sasando was created by two best friends, Lunggi and Balok Ama Sina, who are sheep herders and tappers of palm wine. When they are making haik from palm leaves between the fingers of the palm leaf sheet there is a kind of yarn / fific which when tightened will make a sound. This experience inspired these two friends to make a musical instrument that could mimic sounds or sounds in the gong, by gouging out the bones of the palm leaves which were then fined with wooden sticks. Because the sound produced is not good, it is then replaced with bamboo sticks which are gouged out of the skin and fined with wooden bars (Djoni L.K. Theedens; Sasando and Orang Rote, Timex 8 September 2009). 

Story 4, Samuel Ndun alias sembe Feok (1897-1990), a manahelo (genealogist and poet) in the Western part of Rote, that the inventor of Sasandu was a man named Pupuk Soroba. The inspiration for making Sasandu was obtained by Pupuk Soroba while watching a large spider being absorbed in playing the net (its nest) so that a beautiful sound was heard. Based on his experience, he wants to create a device that can make a beautiful sound. To realize the idea, first the Soroba Fertilizer gouged raw palm leaf sticks, then fined, then picked. Soroba's mind is growing, the last bamboo segment is mounted on the haik made from palm leaves, and the strings or strings are first made of fiber on a banyan tree, after that it is made from a dry weasel's intestine, and in fact produces a greater sound resonance (Paul A. Haning; Sasando, Traditional Musical Instrument of the Rote Ndao Community, Publisher of CV. Kairos). 

Because Sasandu is obtained by imitating the workings of spiders, then based on belief (myth) in Rote if someone wants to be good at playing / picking Sasandu then he has to catch a spider and then destroy it after it is mixed with coconut oil and then processed / kneaded on fingers. Because the musical instrument that has been installed in the haik resonates, it is called / called Sandu or Sanu which means to vibrate or thrash. Then this tool is called Sasandu again, is a repeat word from Sandu-sandu or Sanu-sanu which means to vibrate repeatedly. 

Sasando, in the field of organology (the science of musical instruments) belongs to the Bamboo Tube Zither. According to music researchers, bamboo tube zither is a musical instrument native to Southeast Asia (for example the Philippines and Indonesia) which is also found in Madagascar as Valiha / Ali originating from Southeast Asia through population migration (Stanley Sadiebed. The New Grove Dictyonary of Musical Instruments) 

The development of the Sasandu continues over time, there is a modification of the shape and improvement of the sound quality produced by replacing the string. Fifik changed lontar leaf reinforcement, bamboo skin changed wire strings, single strings changed double strings, acoustics evolved to electronics, Sasando Gong evolved into Sasando violin to become Sasandu as a traditional musical instrument with a touch of modern technology. The ability and enthusiasm of modifying this Sasando reflects the character and work ethic of the high Rote people and their dynamism in music. (WN)

Source: Dokumen Pencatatan WBTB BPNB Bali   

Natalino Mella with his new design of Sasando,
Mella BlackHarp Sasando with 36 strings