Palm Karinding of Cineam

Palm karinding from Cineam,West Java (photo by Kokar Japan)

Karinding is very closely to the Sundanese (rice) farmer. This people’s traditional folk-game instrument, according to the legend, has been existing in Sunda-land since 300 years ago. Luckily, this instrument can still be found in Citamiang, Pasirmukti village, sub district of Cineam, Regency of Tasikmalaya, West Java.

Nowadays, the only one remaining Karinding artist is Oyon Eno Raharjo. Until now, Oyon is the only one who can play karinding well. He got playing ability from Mbah Kaman hereditary at about 1930’s era. Its relayed to Muimah at 1945’s era then to Oyon at 1954. In 1966, Oyon began to make a group and recruited players. 

At that time, there were four karinding players, they are Ki Kama, Sugandi, Solihin and Dudung. Not enough with the group, then Oyon built a studio named Sanggar Sekar Komara Sunda to preserve this traditional art. His studio was stopped because several players were dead. From 2003, his effort to stretch the karinding was started again. This was the second phase of karinding resurrection.      

At Citamiang village, karindings are made of Kawung Saeran (kind of palm). “The material taken from the old palm and half-dried, called humareupan, because the full-dried material is hard to be formed” Oyon said. Kawung saeran is different from the ordinary kawung. It has short trees and the “sap” is rarely taken. It hard to make karinding. Not overyone can make this instrument. From five karinding that are made in a day, it’s only one the best karinding that can be played.     

This article translated from Indonesian article “Dari Sawah Turun ke Hati” ( written by Desy Naik Sapi  

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