Where is that, you ask? What?

Daerah Sunda, the extent of the Sundanese ethnic group, corresponds more or less to the province of Jawa Barat, West Java, although you more commonly hear it called Daerah Sunda round here – the Sundanese area.

The Sundanese have their own script, language, politics and history which are entangled with, but distinct from, those of the Javanese, who make up the majority of the population of Jawa Tengah and Jawa Timur, the other major provinces of Java. Don’t be confused – just because someone comes from the island of Java doesn’t mean they are ethnically Javanese. There are Sundanese and other groups besides.

I am no expert in Sunda, but I can tell you a little about Sundanese music and have some technical tips about aksara sunda, and so on because of my 2015 Asialink residency.

I’m kind of fascinated by this area, and I will occasionally link to some useful resources by some real experts. (The real real experts are often writing in Indonesian or Sundanese, mind.)

Underneath the famous Islamic and Hindu elements of religion here is the Sunda Wiwitan faith, although decades of suppression and refusal by the state to count it on the census have made it difficult to know how prevalent this is.

Iket Sunda:

I always forget the name of the local ceremonial blade. It’s kujang or kudi. See, e.g., Kujang.

Pranatamangsa is the name of the local astrological calendar. You can listen to Ruffles’ radio piece about that. See Gigi Priadji and his Trah Dokumenter project, creating wild and wonderful ethnologies of his region.

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———. 1984. Karawitan : Source Readings in Javanese Gamelan and Vocal Music. Vol. 23. Michigan Papers on South and Southeast Asia. Ann Arbor, Mich. : University of Michigan, Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies.

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———. 1993. “Parallel Versions of Tembang Sunda Melodies in Different Tunings.” Oideion: The Performing Arts World-Wide 14: 55.

———. 2001. “The Song Is the Thing: Patokan, Alur Lagu and the Impact of the Female Vocal Soloists on Sundanese Instrumental Music.” Contemporary Theatre Review 11 (1): 67–97.

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