The Music Hall at the “Jose White” Conservatory of Music in the city of Camaguey - the oldest city and cultural center in Cuba – filled with thundering sound of the audience’s standing ovation for Prof. Eugenio Amado Silva Santiago and the "Jose White” Angklung Orchestra. Indonesian songs as well as classical compositions in typical tones of Angklung, glided smoothly from the hands of members of the Angklung Orchestra. Even to the ears of the Indonesian Embassy staff that were present at this prestigious occasion, the sounds of the Angklung played by this Angklung Orchestra felt so different and really opened our eyes on the potency of this traditional musical instrument when played by those who really understand music.
The Angklung Orchestra was formed in late 2006 after the “Jose White” Conservatory of Music, which is one of the most prestigious music school and the oldest in Cuba received one set of this West Java traditional musical instrument from the Government of Indonesia to introduce Indonesian culture in Cuba. The music school directors entrusted the care and teaching of the Indonesian traditional musical instrument to the school’s teacher, Prof. Eugenio Amado Santiago Silva, who also happened to be an expert on percussion instrument and a member of the Symphony Orchestra of the Camaguey Province. The establishment of Angklung Orchestra whose members consist of not only students but also teachers in the school is the fruit of the professor's love affairs with this bamboo musical instrument. His passion for the instrument compelled him to explore the various tones that can be played by Angklung. He even composed a musical composition entitled "El Ritmica en el Major" which combines angklung tunes with percussion elements of the Cuban music, such as salsa, rhumba and son. Since 2007, He and the “Jose White” Angklung Orchestra have been performed in various occasions and festival around Cuba.
The “Jose White” Angklung Orchestra performances on this night of 12th November 2009 became more special because their teacher and musical conductor was launching his first book on Angklung, entitled "El Angklung: Teoria y Practica Musical", which has been designed and published with the assistance of the Embassy of Indonesia in Havana. This book discussed the techniques and method to play Angklung through approaches and perspectives applied in the musical teaching in Cuba. This book is also special because the techniques, approaches and methods of playing Angklung described in the book are slightly different from that known in Indonesia, as Prof. Silva treated the Angklung as an instrument for orchestra. This is not surprising given the experience of the professor as a symphony orchestra player.
The book launching was covered live by the television of Camaguey as well as the local media and attended by member of local parliament, the government of Camaguey, cultural observers, musical experts and practitioners of the art. In this event, the Embassy of Indonesia in Havana gave an explanation on the importance of improving relations and cooperation in the field of arts and culture for the two countries.
For the Embassy of Indonesia in Havana, the publication of this book by Prof. Silva has special significance, because this book is the first of its kind that has been published in Cuba within the last 50 years. This book is also the first in Cuba that specifically discussed the techniques to play the angklung, the traditional musical instrument from Indonesia. In addition, the Embassy of Indonesia in Havana was assisting the publication of this book as part of series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Cuba in 2010.