Feature - Sasando performance enthralls delegates of 2nd G20 Sherpa Meeting

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Feature - Sasando performance enthralls delegates of 2nd G20 Sherpa Meeting

A musician plays a sasando to welcome the delegates of the 2nd G20 Sherpa Meeting in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai District, East Nusa Tenggara Province. (ANTARA/HO-Documentation of Amiri Yandi/uyu)

...Hence, humans are obliged to preserve nature
Kupang, NTT (ANTARA) - A middle-aged man's fingers effortlessly strum the strings of the sasando to bring out the melodious sounds of the musical instrument that please the ears of listeners.

Jegril Pah, 42, sat cross-legged while playing the harp-like instrument that captivated the delegates of the 2nd 2022 G20 Sherpa Meeting at the Pelataran Komodo Hotel, Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province.

A long applause from the delegations followed his splendid performance, as the show offered an authentic experience for the G20 Sherpa delegates.

Sasando is a traditional musical instrument from Rote Ndao District, NTT Province.

The name sasando originates from the word, ‘sasandu’, which literally means ‘to vibrate’ or ‘to sound’. However, the pronunciation shifted to become ‘sasando’.

The main part of the musical instrument is a long bamboo tube surrounded by several strings and a resonance chamber made of woven palmyra (Borassus flabellifer) leaves called ‘haik’.

Sasando is often played to accompany traditional songs, poetry, and dances as well as to comfort mourning families.

Furthermore, the instrument is also played to welcome and entertain important guests.

Currently, sasando is not only acknowledged and played in the Rote Ndao region but also in other areas in NTT Province, such as Kupang City and Labuan Bajo Village.

According to Pah, it has been a great honour for him to be able to play the musical instrument in front of the guests from various G20 countries since the performance provides an opportunity to introduce sasando to the international community.

As a sasando player, who is also the craftsperson of the musical instrument, he understands the philosophy of the making of sasando.

He noted that the instrument is emblematic of the fact that humans can never be separated from nature, considering that sasando is made from a combination of natural materials -- such as palmyra leaves, bamboo, and wood -- and human-made technology -- which is the string.

"Hence, humans are obliged to preserve nature," he remarked.

The musician is strongly committed to conserving the cultural wealth of NTT Province.

Thus, in the midst of his busy schedule, he always finds time to teach the younger generation to play sasando.

He expects members of the younger generation to continue to love and maintain the rich cultural heritage of their ancestors, so sasando can continue to make its presence felt among people along with various modern musical instruments.

"The delegates, who are mere outsiders (not the natives of NTT Province), are very enthusiastic about the sasando. Hence, it is only fitting that (members of) our generation should preserve and introduce their own unique cultures to the international community," he stated.

He is optimistic that by playing sasando at the 2nd G20 Sherpa Meeting, the event can bring more fame to the traditional musical instrument at the global stage, and thus, it can motivate future generations to maintain the instrument as a pride of the region.

Tourism revival

The 2nd 2022 G20 Sherpa Meeting is held in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province, on July 10-13, 2022.

The G20 Sherpa Meeting is a forum attended by G20 member countries to discuss issues related to energy, development, tourism, digital economy, education, labor, agriculture, trade, investment, industry, health, anti-corruption, environment, and climate change.

Representatives from 19 members of G20, six invited countries, and nine international organizations attend the series of the meeting in person.

Meanwhile, representatives of the United States, which is also a member of G20, partook in the event virtually.

Hence, the event can be a strategic opportunity for Indonesia, as the chair of the 2022 G20 Presidency, to introduce various local potentials to the global stage.

"It is an opportunity for us to improve our reputation as well as promote (our) myriad wealth of tourism (destinations) and our creative economy (products) globally," Expert Staff for Sustainable Development and Conservation at the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry Fransiskus Xaverius Teguh stated.

In addition, the 2nd 2022 G20 Sherpa Meeting emphasized the importance of tourism recovery, as the issue aligned with the theme of Indonesia's G20 Presidency: "Recover Together, Recover Stronger."

Tourism actors at the global, national, and regional scale were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that had been ongoing over the last two years, Teguh -- who also served as the chair of the G20 Indonesia Tourism Working Group (TWG) -- noted after attending the first session of the G20 Sherpa Meeting on the Global Health Architecture.

The meeting highlighted five frameworks of action to encourage higher quality and more sustainable tourism, including the human resources; digitalization, innovation, and creative economy; as well as the involvement of young people and women.

Furthermore, two other frameworks comprised the implementation of dynamic conservation, circular economy and sustainability; as well as the policy, governance, and investment.

The Indonesian government continues to strive to encourage various native potentials to be able to draw tourists that is expected to have an impact on improving the welfare of the local people.

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Introducing local arts, cultures, creative economy products, and other tourism potentials is also in line with the current trend of the tourism industry that demanded an authentic travel experience.

Hence, sasando, as a part of the local potentials of NTT Province, should also be preserved as the nation's cultural wealth since it is expected to attract more tourists to visit Indonesia.

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The melodious note of sasando's strings had captivated the 2nd 2022 G20 Sherpa Meeting delegations. May the mellifluous sounds of sasando always ring in the hearts of the members of the global community.