The notes float in the air with a natural reverberation, peaceful and soothing like a lullaby.
On this 17th of August, we arrive in Yogyakarta with festivities all around. The whole country unites. Everyone puts out the red and white flag, a tremendous amount of flowers and offerings are gifted to people, at the feet of shops and houses and all around town. Indonesians told us: “Good intentions attract good vibes!”
Music groups multiply. Anon picks up his baton wrapped in cotton and stands in front of the Gender, a Carillon with a silver fingerboard above a mahogany tube. He chimes and the notes float in the air with a natural reverberation, peaceful and soothing like a lullaby. Beside him, his senior student picks up his chopsticks and briskly begins to play the Gambang. With the dryer rhythmical sound of the wood he gives a dynamic melody and we get carried away. Then another student stands in front of a tambourine and takes over tapping the Kendang in a lively manner. At this point, the crowd starts dancing and laughing. the festive spirit takes over. The games begin. A sack race, the rope pull, we tie a krupuk along a wire above our heads, hands behind our backs and the first person to finish eating the whole salted biscuit wins. Needless to say, there was laughter all around.
On this beautiful afternoon, we sat with Shanty, a Javanese singer who started proudly unfolding stories of Indonesia. As she kept on explaining the Javanese culture, we hear the Muslim call to prayer blending with the gongs of the Hindu and Buddhist temples and the bells of the Catholic church. All this is surrounded by the constant hubbub of scooter engines, illuminated buses, and endless traffic, as well as abundant flora and generous smiles. Courteous, cultured, and helpful, Indonesians welcomed us with open arms.
Driving the tiny roads through forests, mountains, and other wonders of the land, we stopped in front of Mont Bromo. In the silence of the wind, we heard the center of the earth growling steadily. The once-sleeping volcano flickered a cloud of relief into a calm sky.
As we continue our adventure rappelling down the 70 meters of the Jomblang cave, we enter the mystics of a wet and still world. The more we stroll, we more we get swollen into darkness until that moment… The sun at the zenith shares its light through a tiny hole, to sneak into the cave. Silence takes over, while the small drops of water on the stalagmite soothed the soundscape, we heard the angels singing through that mystical light.