Canka Lokananta, the Melodious Sound from Tidar Valley

Magelang Lokananta Military Sahrudin

Snare drummers of the Indonesia Military Academy’s Canka Lokananta Pipes and Drums ensemble in a field show in Magelang, Central Java on Friday (January 31, 2014).

By: Sahrudin – @SahrudinSaja

ALTHOUGH using the same Sanskrit name of “Lokananta”, there were, and still are, no link between Canka Lokananta and Lokananta Records.

Lokananta itself literally “the sound of heaven”. In fact, both were founded in the same province, Central Java in the 1950s. Both were, and still are, also organizations engaged in the presentation of music.

Canka Lokananta is a Magelang-based Pipes and Drums ensemble consisting of the Indonesia Military Academy cadets.

Established in April 17, 1959, Canka Lokananta became Indonesia’s oldest marching band ever. While Lokananta Records is the first record label in Indonesia, since it was founded in Surakarta City in October 29, 1956.

Canka Lokananta's drum major or locally known as "Penatarama".

Canka Lokananta’s drum major or locally known as “Penatarama”.

Canka Lokananta is the only active duty Pipes and Drums band in the Indonesia Army. Whereas the Indonesia Naval Academy has the “Gita Jala Taruna” and the Indonesia Air Force Academy runs the “Gita Dirgantara”, as well as the Indonesia Police Academy with its “Cendrawasih” marching bands.

Canka Lokananta’s membership is open to all cadets of the Indonesia Military Academy, no prior skill in piping, or drumming is required.

The ensemble supports corps of cadet activities year round, as training and academic schedules permit.

Canka Lokananta provides musical support to the military school also known as the “Tidar Valley” in order to motivate and inspire the corps of cadets, and even to promote national interests at home and abroad.

Tubas between cadets.

Tubas between cadets.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was the best 1973 Indonesia Military Academy graduate, was also among 1971-1973 Canka Lokananta players.

The Pipes and Drums band is considered an icon of the Indonesia Military Academy, even the country’s Army.

Besides in Magelang, Canka Lokananta has also long been an interesting “colossal” show for thousands of people in Jakarta, Surabaya and many other cities in Indonesia as it may only be performed in certain national, important holidays like Independence Day (August 17th), the Indonesian Military Anniversary (October 5th) and Heroes Day in November 10th.

Like many other marching bands, each Canka Lokananta Pipes and Drums member also has his permanently assigned position.

A drum major, locally known as “Penatarama” is the leader of the band during rehearsals and in performance.

His job is to execute the instructions of the band director and other instructional staff regarding what needs to be done with the ensemble.

An aerial or toss move, where the drum major throws a baton into the air, is usually the most risky but interesting maneuver to see.

A bass drummer wearing imitation leopard skin.

A bass drummer wearing imitation leopard skin.

Another position in Canka Lokananta is the assistant drum major. He is the next-in-command behind the Penatarama. He assumes the Penatarama role whenever the drum major is not present or is unable to perform.

An assistant drum major is actually step into Penatarama’s job at a moment’s notice. He may also be asked to help during rehearsals.

Often seen in Canka Lokananta seven bass drummers. Their normal position is in the middle front of the band.

They march in front of the other drummers and instruments like tuba and pipe and bell lyre players. This means that the strong rythm can be heard more equally by the other musicians with less time delay or volume problems.

The Canka Lokananta’s bass drummers are literally the heart of the band and are large cadets commonly wearing imitation leopard skins or similar.***[magelang.images@gmail.com]

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