A poignant documentary about the Javanese Surinamese gamelan orchestra Bangun Tresna Budaya.

It vividly portrays the struggles of the Javanese diaspora to preserve their cultural traditions amid modern societal changes, set against the backdrop of Dutch colonial history and the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands in 2023.


Produced by Docu125 and initiated by Rukun Budi Utama (RBU), a Hague-based foundation with Surinamese-Javanese roots, the documentary was well-received at its premiere on May 29th, attracting a diverse audience. It explores the history of the Bangun Tresna Budaya's instruments, owned by RBU since the late '70s, and the broader narrative of the Surinamese-Javanese gamelan, included in the Netherlands' Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2021.


Director Jeffrey Salimin delves into the handcrafting of gamelan instruments and the challenges of maintaining this tradition. Personal archives and interviews with the orchestra members reveal their deep connection to this cultural expression, reflecting a blend of confrontation, pride, and resilience inherent in the Javanese community.