West Java Indonesia, geographically located at 5°50 ‘- 7°50’ latitude and 104°48 ‘- 108°48’ longitude, boundaries with Java Sea and Capital District of Jakarta at north; Central Java Province at east; Indian Ocean at south; and the province of Banten at west.
The total area of West Java Province is 3,710,061.32 hectares with coastline as long as 755.829 km. West Java Mainland can be distinguished on steep mountainous regions (9.5% of the total land area) is located in the south with a height of more than 1,500 m above sea level; a sloping hillside areas (36.48%) located in the central area with altitude of 10-1500 m above sea level, and the vast plains region (54.03%) is located in the north with altitude of 00-10 m asl. Largest land in West Java in the form of mixed farms (22.89%), rice (20.27%), and plantations (17,41%), while forest in West Java only 15, 93% of the total area. The climate in this provinces is tropical, with average temperatures of 17, 4 to 30.7 ° C and humidity between 73-84%.
West Java has a unique geography conditions, it has more than 40 rivers. West Java also has the potential for surface water. This province has 1,267 reservoirs with more than 10,000 million m3 fresh water. This fresh water mostly used for industry and agriculture. Administratively, the province of West Java consists of 17 districts and 9 cities, and 5245 villages. Residents of West Java in 2010 is 43,021,826 peoples. The capital of West Java is Bandung. At the time of Dutch colonial era, this city is the resort town of Dutch peoples who lived in Batavia, or Jakarta today. Bandung was once called the “Paris van Java.”
West Java is the homeland of Sundanese, one of the major ethnicity in Java Island. Beside Sundanese people, there are other ethnicity such as Banten, Naga, and the Bedouin lives in this province. Although located in Java island, but the language and the traditions are different from the Javanese in Central Java and East Java.
Gamelan orchestra is the Sunda traditional musical which express the Sundanese grace, politeness and culture. This Sundanese traditional musical is claimed to be the most beautiful sounds in the world. This gamelan sets is different with gamelan orchestra in Central java. There are two types of gamelan in West Java, the gamelan in Parahyangan and Cirebon.
In addition to the gamelan orchestra, West Java is also famous for its angklung. Angklung is an instrument made from a bamboo invented by Mr. Daeng Sutigna in year 1938. Angklung consists of a frame upon which hang several different lengths of hollow bamboo. Angklungs are played like handbells, with each instrument played to a different note. Angklung rattles are played in interlocking patterns, usually with only one or two instruments played per person. The ensemble is used in Sundanese processions, sometimes with trance or acrobatics. Number of angklung players between one to 100 persons and can be integrated with other instrument such as piano, organ, guitar, drums, etc.
In West Java, there is traditional puppet called “Wayang Golek“. That is, a puppet made of wood and shaped like human figure. Parts of this Sundanese puppet show consists of: dalang (who plays the puppets) and nayaga (peoples who play gamelan orchestra). Jaipongan is the popular traditional dance of Sundanese. It cans performed in solo, groups, or in pairs.
In addition to some cultures at the top, West Java still has a lot of cultural and traditional art performances. Several types of traditional art performance that originated from West Java namely Bangreng, Ketuk Tilu, Kuda Renggong, Rengkong, Buhun Tutulungan, Sisingaan, Sintren, Blantek, Cisalak Mask Dance, etc. Later, in the next articles we will explain more detail about each of these Javanese cultures.