I was walking to work a few weeks ago when I came across this Javanese woman, dressed all in batik, playing and singing for money. I stopped to record and she told me the instrument was a sitar. It’s smaller than the Indian kind and played in the lap instead of guitar-style. Despite these differences, I suspect it’s a throwback to the old Javanese Hindu kingdoms of the 14th century.
While she was singing, a snack vendor (dumplings, I think) came by and added his own rhythm to the mix.
All I had on me was a 50,000 rupiah note (about $5 US) so I gave it to her. Then she chased me down the street trying to sell me the sitar.