Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Indonesia Culture

1 Like the people on Indonesia's many islands, Indonesia's culture is a wonderful mix. It is colorful, musical, and truly spectacular. But to really understand Indonesia's culture, it is helpful to know some history and geography.

2 Indonesia is a group of islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Groups of islands like this are called an archipelago. The Indonesian archipelago has many islands, both big and small. Indonesia is close to India and China. Both of those countries have a long history and strong culture. And both countries helped shape Indonesian culture.

3 Throughout Indonesia's history, immigrants from India and China brought parts of their culture with them. The religions of Hinduism (from India) and Buddhism (from China) made their way to Indonesia early on. Different art forms also came to Indonesia from other nearby countries.

4 Neighbors influenced one of Indonesia's most well known forms of music. This music is called gamelan. If you aren't familiar with Asian music, it may be the strangest music you'll ever hear. It is very different from Western music.

5 Gamelan is played with lots of different percussion instruments. A percussion instrument is something that is hit, like a drum, cymbal, or bell. In gamelan, many different percussion instruments are used. Bells, chimes, and gongs can be easily recognized. Others are unusual, like the metallophone and bamboo xylophone. Gamelan orchestras arrange their instruments in a specific way.

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