The differing musical cultures of Wales and Indonesia came together recently as part of an exchange scheme.
On Saturday, November 16, pupils from Lewis School Pengam performed alongside 14 Indonesian students.
Welsh and Indonesian cultures were mixed through traditional dances, puppetry and music that the students composed together the week before the event.
The show was followed by a buffet of Indonesian food.
This show was part of the Indonesian Residency Programme and its leader Cynthia Langeveldt said: “Originally they were only supposed to go to England. I asked the embassy to bring them to Wales because I’m so passionate about Indonesia and I wanted Wales to see Indonesia through my eyes.
“For the pupils, it was a cultural shock in a sense because of the language barrier. But music is the international language, so they were able to actually integrate.”
Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, Dr Rizal Sukm said: “We are quite happy to be able to bring a group of students from Indonesia and not only to perform in a number of cities across the UK but more importantly to provide an opportunity for them to interact with other high-school students in the UK and to collaborate.
“We want to establish that sort of network and especially here in Wales so they will become the foundations for a very close friendship between the two countries in the future. As an Ambassador I believe that the foundation for close relationship are actually the people.”
Gwent Police also worked on the project.
Mrs Langeveldt explains: “I decided to go to Gwent Police and its diversity and inclusion team to formulate the project so that we can target hate crime and people becoming more aware of the Muslim community through music and art.”
Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman of Gwent Police said: “Music is an international language and if you can get communication right, you can get relationship right and you can get understanding right.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert said: “One of the key aspects of my police and crime plan, which I’m responsible for, is community cohesion.
“I’m very supportive of that type of approach and this event is an excellent example of school-age young people working together across many thousands of miles.”
He added: “Unfortunately we are living in troubled times and there are too many people ready to exploit differences for their own ends. We need to celebrate diversity.
“People should open up their heart to everyone else and events like this bring home that reality. We seek to develop it further and I hope it will be a good example for other schools to follow across the UK.”