Monday, May 24, 2010

Oblivion - MIAKE

The song is Oblivion - a theme Piazzolla composed for the movie Enrico IV. The video is from a performance titled MIAKE at the Movies. But understanding what MIAKE is took a bit of work. The MI stands for Millennia Institute, a remarkable college-prep school in Singapore. The AKE stands for Angklung Kulintang Ensemble. And here it gets interesting, at least for this western eared blogger. The angklung and the kulintang are instruments originating in the Malay Archipelago.

[The kulintang is an instrument made up of a set of gongs organized in a horizonal row, struck with a beater. In today's video, the kulintang are in the back rows - not clearly visible. You can get a better view and hear the instrument here.] Note added 31 May, 2010: The information in the brackets above appeared in the original posting of this blog and, as a reader points out in a comment below, is wrong. The kulintangs played here are from Sulawesi, Indonesia and they are made of wood and are more related to the marimba than to a set of gongs. The reader suggests this video to provide an example of the kulintang played my MIAKE.

The angklung is a pair of carved pieces of bamboo. tuned an octave apart and arranged on a frame so the bamboo pieces are struck when shaken. It is not unlike a bell. In today's video, I believe the angklung players are on the floor in front of the stage - also not clearly visibly. You can get a better view of angklung's being played in this video (not Piazzolla, but precious - don't miss it). It is hard to tell, but I think that the angklungs in today's video are arranged on racks so one player can play multiple angklungs. You can see an example in this video.

This class in world music is now dismissed. If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.


  1. You might want to watch this too?
    It's the same song, it's just that we recorded this during a competition held in Singapore
    every 2 years.

    By: a member of MIAKE :)

  2. Hi Don,

    I'd like to clarify something about the kulintangs.

    You are right about the Kulintangs being gongs organized in horizontal rows. But those are more specifically kulintangs from the Philippines.

    The kulintangs in this video are from Sulawesi, Indonesia and are made of wood.

    This link below should give you a better idea of how it looks and sounds.

    Instrumental names in the South-east Asia regions are confusing as some names are used interchangeably.

    And you are right about the angklungs being arranged on racks. :)

    From someone who's interested in Piazzolla and tango! :)