In 2014 when I moved to Indonesia as a participant of the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship, I thought I was headed for Bali to learn gamelan. But as fate would have it I ended up instead living and breathing angklung at the Saung Angklung Udjo Arts Centre in Bandung, West Java. Angklung are Indonesian instruments made of bamboo tubes attached to bamboo frames – essentially pitched rattles used to tremolo, traditionally played in interlocking parts.

Bianca Gannon

Having made great sacrifices to be there, I was at first resentful that I was predominantly learning to play Western pop music on diatonicised Angklung Padaeng, as is now common practice. The irony being that I had left my native Ireland (home of boyband Westlife) to come to the other side of the world to play Westlife on angklung. A slightly surreal experience. Gradually though, I grew to feel very fortunate and grateful to be immersed in many multifaceted and beautiful aspects of Sundanese arts, culture and daily life, experiencing both mainstream, Westernised arts and traditional arts.

While I spent the...