Naga Lelana: Dari Nottingham, Orang Inggris Melestarikan Budaya Jawa

….. pandangan hidup Jawa yang diungkapkan dalam musik gamelan merupakan keselarasan dalam berbicara dan bertindak sehingga tidak memunculkan ekspresi yang meledak-ledak serta mewujudkan toleransi antar sesama – Filosofi Gamelan 


Gamelan, Naga Lelana, Nottingham

Namanya, Naga Lelana. Dari namanya, jelas sampean yang asli orang Jawa pasti tahu kalau ini nama Jawa. Hayo, sampean ngerti ora opo artine? Ini adalah sebuah grup musik gamelan di kota Nottingham, Inggris. Tak satupun, anggotanya yang asli orang Indonesia, apalagi orang Jawa.

Nang, Ning, Nung, Neng, Nong,  Dung !

Sayup-sayup suara gamelan itu terdengar menenangkan, mendamaikan jiwa ku yang sedikit gelisah siang itu. Sejenak, dua jenak, tiga jenak, alam fikiran ku terbawa terbang jauh ke kampung halaman. Saat temanten kakung, berpakaian temanten adat Jawa lengkap, beserta iring-iringan para keluarga pengantar, dipertemukan dengan temanten putri. Diiringi tembang kebo giro, yang diputar dari kaset tape recorder.

Aduhai, bahagia sekali, puncak-puncak gunung kebahagiaan itu terlukis begitu jelas pada senyum kedua mempelai, dan ribuan senyum-senyum lain yang tersungging pada keluarga dan tetamu yang hadir pada pesta pernikahan adat Jawa itu.

Rupanya, jasad ku masih di bumi Nottingham, sedang menyaksikan pertunjukan gamelan, yang pemainya ganteng-ganteng, cantik-cantik, rambutnya pirang. Sudah dua kali ini, aku menikmati pagelaran gamelan yang ditampilkan oleh Naga Lelana. Rasanya, aku belum pernah menikmati suara gamelan se khusuk dan senikmat ini. Rasa kangen ku pada tanah Jawi seolah diaduk-aduk oleh tetabuhan pada seperangkat gamelan yang penuh harmoni itu.

Seorang perempuan bertubuh subur, berambut pirang menyelipkan sekuncup bunga kamboja putih, di telinga kananya. Matanya begitu khusuk menabuh bonang di hadapanya, sesekali melirik pada partikur tembang-tembang Jawa tak jauh dari sederat bonang itu.

Hati ku disergap oleh seribu tanya. Bagaimana mungkin mereka lebih tahu dari pada diriku tentang budaya bangsa ku senderi. Bagaimana mungkin, budaya yang dulu ku sepelekan itu, disini begitu dimuliakan oleh mereka? Haruskah suatu saat nanti, aku belajar pada mereka, sekedar untuk tahu tentang bangsa kami sendiri? Inikah yang namanya bangsa yang sedang kehilangan jati diri? Malang nian nasib bangsa ku ini. Ilang sirno kertaning Jawi.




Indonesian Festival 2013, Nottingham UK


Saturday (15/06/2013). For me, It was so special day. The day, in which I felt home. The day, in which I felt I was in tiny Indonesia in the UK. The day, I can hear clearly the sound of Gamelan and other traditional music instrument for the first time in the UK. Yeah, the day was 10th Indonesian Festival 2013 (Indofest 2013) in The University of Nottingham.  It was annual event organized by Indonesian Student Society in The University of Nottingham in collaboration with Indonesian embassy and Indonesian students association in the  UK aimed at introducing and promoting the richness of Indonesian culture, the “unity in diversity” of Indonesian people, and the wonderful of Indonesian nature, as well as the amazingly enchanting Indonesian foods and cuisine.  There were thousands of people across the UK flocked to the one of green fields in the University  of Nottingham, one of the greenest campus environment in the world. They were Indonesian, as well as local and other nationality people. Luckily, it was quite sunny day in the summer session, the thing that made everyone felt very happy.

To introduce the Indonesian culture, people, and nature The Indonesian festival held some events including cultural performance in what we called “Indonesia Got Talent” program, Folk Games, Food Stalls, Workshops, and Photo exhibition. Herewith, some pictures that I could take from the spot.

Cultural Performance

The event was opened with a dance performance by “Tari Pendet”, Pendet Dance, a very famous dance from Bali. I saw by myself, this dance successfully attracted attention of  eyes. It was very dazzling dance performance indeed.

Another dance was ” Tari Saman”, the Saman Dance. It was also very famous dances performed by a group of people showing succinctness of the performer gestures. It was very attractive dance, indeed. Actually, there were many other dance performances that I  had no chance to spot them. You know, I was one of the event organizing committee.

Other than dance performance, there was traditional fashion show performed by British and other International people in the UK. It felt very proud and happy to know that other people from different nationalities loved our national costumes.

They also looked very happy and proud with these traditional costumes.  Yeah, to know and to learn the other cultures is always fascinating.

Folks Games

In other hand, we also introduced the Indonesian folks games. As matter of fact, Indonesia has a bunch of traditional games scattered around the Archipelago. Unfortunately, the advance of electronic and digital technology made these cultural heritages vanished. It might be only played once a year during the celebration of our independent day. It was so regretful.

In the festival, some of the games were introduced. such as “Balap Karung”.

Interestingly, It was not only played by Indonesian children, but also International children. Children, no matter what their nationality and cultural background, they are the same. They are always sincerely cheerful. They honestly express what they feel. Dealing with children is always entertain me.

The other folks games played in Indofest 2013 were Bangkiak Race and Tarik Tambang. Have a look on the following pictures, that were  successfully captured from the spot. Bangkiak is modified slipper made from wood. It must be worn by three children who must race together on the track.

While Tarik Tambang is very simple games. Two groups of people in opposite sides are pulling the same rope against each other. The winner is the group who could pull the rope stronger than another group.

At the heart of both games Bangkiak race and Tarik Tambang is a message that people should work together very well in team, it is the way to teach the children the essence of team work in which every people in team plays an important role and no one could gain full success by his/her self without helping hands from the others.


It was the things that I had been waiting for a long time to come. Yeah, the very Indonesian foods. I do not know why, my tongue never compromises with European foods. And it was the time to grab the very Indonesian food in Nottingham. So yummy.

This food yellow rice is called Tumpeng. It was amazingly delicious. It is usually made in the day of celebration such as birth day celebration. So, it is just like Tart Cake in western culture. This food has deep philosophy but in the essence is the expression of gratitude devoted to Allah, one and the only one God,  for all His blessing to us.

There were approximately 40 Indonesian food stalls in this festival with a bunch of foods from Nasi Padang to Es Cendol. Indeed, it was a great pleasure.

Other than ready served foods, there were also Indonesian food groceries as well, where you can find Indonesian food ingredient there. It was like traditional market in Indonesia. Where every people that dominated by women could speak in Javanese Language to each other without any hesitation, even it was in the UK.

I was so lucky, I found Tempeh and Sambal Pecel in the food groceries stall. They were not available in Nottingham and here they came. Although it was quite expensive compare again the price in Indonesia.

For a bar of Tempe I must pay £2 (approximately Rp. 30.000, it was equal to price of a half kilogram chicken) and £1.25 (approximately Rp. 18.000) for Sambel Pecel. However, for the UK prices, it was quite affordable.

The Workshops

To introduce the Indonesian cultures and local heritages, in the festival also be held some workshops. One of the workshop was Batik Workshop. It gave practical experience how to make Batik from scratch.

At the beginning, the visitor interested in Batik were given a chance to draw his/her own motif on white  fabric. Promptly, afterward, they drew the motif using Canting and Malam. The special tool and ink for drawing the Batik.

I saw they looked very enthusiastic learning how to make it  gradually, scratch by scratch. The process really taught us that there is no instant way to achieve a great masterpiece. Each single great achievement needs long, tedious, even painful process. Only love make the process become a pleasure.

In addition, in the festival, the committee also held Bahasa Indonesia workshop. It gave at glance introduction on how to speak some common words in Bahasa Indonesia. It was to great pleasure, to see some foreigners learning Bahasa Indonesia happily.

In the festival also be  held Bhineka Sport Championship, and the adventure Games.

The Sponsors

This festival was sponsored by Indomie, a top instant noodle brand in Indonesia and Teh Botol Sosro, to brand ready served tea.

Thanks Goes to…

We should thanks to The Indonesian Festival 2013 President and Vice President, the Indonesian Ambassador for UK and Ireland, T.M. Hamzah Thayeb. Great Job, Guys!

and for sure a bunch of thanks went to all organizing committee members, volunteers, and whoever had come to the festival. See you soon in Indonesian Festival 2014 next year !

Understanding the fact that we are different, then trying to know and learn each other is at the heart of harmony in Life. What a wonderful life, living in diversity. Not to compete against each other but to know and love each other.  Indeed,the diversity yield the unity for a better life in this one and only one beautiful world, where we live together as one.

*) Just a random note might be worth to remember in the future.