Sasando – An Interesting Instrument from Indonesia


“Sasando” is a unique name for a musical instrument. As I did my research, I found an interesting background story behind the name Sasando. On Rote Island, there was a boy who loved music named Sangguana. One day, he went to the savannah where he fell asleep under a palmyra tree. That’s when he dreamed about his great instrument name ‘Sasando’. What he remembered the most from his dream was the sound. He was enchanted by the sound of his instrument. So he created his instrument under a palmyra tree with the palmyra leaves. This is what we know as Sasando origin from the local tradition.


I haven’t got a chance to listen to it in real life, but I have watched some video of it being played. I can understand why Sangguana was enchanted by the sound of Sasando. It sounds like we plucked a violin’s strings with our fingers. In Sasando, there are 2 parts that make sounds. For the first one, which is a long tube usually made of bamboo rounded with strings. Second part, a container, where the tube is placed, is  made of a kind of woven palm leaf. I’ve never seen any musical instrument that looks like this.

In my research, I came across a legendary Sasando player named Jeremias Pah. He is 82 years old. When he was a child, he learned how to play the Sasando from his grandfather. Today, he became the most famous Sasando player in the world and he has performed in more than 40 countries. Also he made his own instrument himself with his wife.

Sasando is one of the most interesting musical instruments in the world. Also it is well made with good ingredients. Sasando is something to be proud of in Indonesia. I think young generation needs to learn and preserve it.


Writer : 장유성

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