Music and Contrasts
Curators Ubiet Raseuki & Bart Barendregt
It is impossible to approach Indonesian music without starting with the gamelan, its most emblematic ensemble. Composed of gongs, metallophones, drums and other percussive instruments of all genres to which flutes, stringed instruments and even voices can be added, the gamelan has had a huge influence on Western and international music. Already a thousand-year tradition, the gamelan has lost none of its freshness or relevance: musicians continue to invent new instruments and the repertoire continues to evolve with contemporary and experimental compositions.
Four legendary names have accepted the invitation to demonstrate the immense diversity of the gamelan: A. L. Suwardi, I Wayan Gde Yudane, Rahayu Supanggah and Iwan Gunawan. The latter is participating in a unique project organized by the festival: Moondog for Gamelan. In collaboration with Stefan Lakatos, he and his ensemble will play the music of Moondog on a gamelan especially built for the occasion.
The traditional music of Indonesia is by no means limited to the gamelan. Each island and region has its own style, instruments and sounds. For the project Voices of Papua, singers and musicians will come especially from Papua to perform their impressive songs, rarely heard abroad. Also on the menu: a flute and singing duet from the Minangkabau people, tuned drums from the Batak Toba people, a battibatti from Selayar Island, and much more.
Indonesia has thriving and particularly rich hip hop, jazz, metal and electronic music scenes that deserve to be better known. A common feature of most of the invited musicians is that they have adopted Western music styles while adapting them and adding traditional Indonesian elements.
Karinding Attack accompanies its full-bodied songs with traditional bamboo instruments like mouth harps, xylophones and bizarre percussion. The completely unclassifiable Senyawa combine the sounds of invented instruments with howls, throat singing and ferocious growls, sprinkled with traditional melodies. While the visual and acoustic identity of Wayang Hip Hop is based on Javanese shadow puppet theatre, the group performs vicious, passionate rap.
The programme will culminate in one frenzied evening at Les Brigittines during which rock groups and legendary DJs will revive the Indonesian rock & roll that took the world by storm in the 1960s and ‘70s.
EUROPALIA has invited three musicians on residence in Indonesia to work with local musicians: Dijf Sanders, Rabih Beaini and Wolf Müller. The music traditions they discover there will be used in their upcoming concerts and albums.