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Idjah Hadjijah and Jugula Jaipongan

This album showcases a unique style of Gamelan created as a reaction to the government’s ban on rock and roll. Armed with gongs, bronze keys, drums and vocals, these musicians voice a rock spirit in the most graceful way possible. Featured are Jaipongan’s most legendary performers, Idjah Hadjijah on vocals and the famed Jugala group of West Java.

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This album showcases a unique style of Gamelan created as a reaction to the government’s ban on rock and roll. Armed with gongs, bronze keys, drums and vocals, these musicians voice a rock spirit in the most graceful way possible. Featured are Jaipongan’s most legendary performers, Idjah Hadjijah on vocals and the famed Jugala group of West Java.

Jaipongan developed out of a musical genre of ritual and celebration called ketuk-tilu (three kettle gongs). Ketuk-tilu is known for complex drumming coordinated with equally dynamic solo female dancers. These performances also include a rebab, a small upright bowed instrument, a gong, and, of course, the ketuk-tilu, three kettle gongs. The original performance context of this music revolved around planting and harvesting rituals. Over time, ketuk-tilu became an outlet for village life, expressing fertility, sensuality, eroticism, and, at times, socially accepted prostitution.

In 1961, President Sukarno placed a ban on Western music — most specifically rock and roll — ostensibly to revive traditional Indonesian arts. This constricting policy did, however, have some creative outcomes: for instance, it inspired the composer/choreographer Gugum Gumbira to creatively expand and retrofit the dynamic and intense ketuk-tilu music. Working with ketuk-tilu as a basis, Gumbira brought in the gamelan and modified the accompanying dance. The modifications retained some of the original sensual moves, joining to them a popular martial art called pencack silat. Gumbira also brought new emphasis to the role of singer, allowing the performers to concentrate solely on their voices. Thus a new art form was created.

The repressed musical environment couldn’t banish the growing new expression of “socially acceptable” sensuality. On the contrary, it fueled it, combining with a booming cassette recording industry and enabling Jaipongan to sweep Java in unprecedented ways.

Performers

Group: Campaka Warna
Sinden: Idjah
Kendang: Berlin
Rebab: Ojay
Ganbang: Arie
Saron I: Ada
SaronII: Cucu
Bonang: Ucehg
Rincik: Ijang
Goong: Oleh
Demung: Rizki
Kenturng: Jajang
Kecrek: Berlin
Peking: Dodi

Recorded at Jugula Studio, Remix Studio, and Aru Studio
in Bandung Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer, Suny Lyons / Engineer)





Ruk Ruk Rukmana Kacapi Suling Music

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Performers

Performers

Group: Per Kumlan Tembang Sunda Sasimpay
Vocal: Euis Komariah
Kacapi Indung: RukRuk Rukmana
Kacapi Rincik:
Suling: Tatang Rohimat
Rebab: Uloh

Recorded at Aru Studio
in Bandung Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer, Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Kacapi string music of West Java has inspired meditation and reflection across the globe. Listen and you’ll see why Ruk Ruk Rukmana is one of the best known Kacapi players in the world. Add the legendary voice of West Java Euis Komariah and the effect is sublime. The Kacapi is also accompanied here by the suling(flute), a classic combination throughout this region.

Kacapi-suling is the hallmark of classical music throughout West Java. This music is synonymous with West Java’s rich history, heroes, and creative sensibility. A typical kacapi-suling ensemble consists of two kacapis (deep, boat-like zithers) and a bamboo flute called a suling. The kacapis are distinguished by the larger kacapi indung, which offers the basic cyclic structure with syncopated medium octave and bass notes. The smaller kacapi rincik doubles the larger kacapis speed and decorates the cycles with intricate ornamentation .
The suling flute provides a combination of structured melodies and improvisations and comes to the foreground with flare when there is a pause in the vocal.

Kacapi-suling originates from a style of music called tembang sunda, a sung poetry that is accompanied by the same instruments used today. Dating back to the late 1800’s, Tembang sunda was an aristocratic entertainment that sang not only of past kingdoms, but of the poetry of daily life, of love and loss. Kacapi-suling is the predominantly instrumental version of this type of music that became popular in the 1970’s, when the recording industry began to thrive in Java. It can be heard in a variety of contexts: all night performances for an audience of musicians, important regional ceremonies, or gigs in hotel lobbies pitched to passers by.





Tarawangsa Ritual Music

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Performers

Performers

Tarawangsa: Kusnadi of Sumedang
Kacapi: Udin of Sumedang

Recorded at Aru Studio
in Bandung Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer and Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Hear why the minimal yet fully dynamic Tarawangsa ritual music of West Java is known for putting its accompanying dancers into trances. With only two very simple stringed instruments, these renowned players cover a variety of textures and create nothing less than musical poetry. We’ve brought a new quality of recording to this very rare music.

Tarawangsa is both the style of music as well as the name of the two-stringed, upright, bowed instrument used in the performance of this rare music. The tarawangsa is considered by some scholars to be the only indigenous stringed instrument found in Java; its development came at a time when Java was largely an animist society fully dependent on agricultural cycles. That era is echoed through its use in rural west java today.

This music is deeply integrated into an agricultural/religious ritual happening once or twice a year in honor of the rice goddess Dewi Sri. Through this ritual the Sundanese farmers of West Java honor Dewi Sri, thus hoping to protect the fields, have a rich havest and avoid village calamities. In many ways this is a prime example of how the Sundanese can amalgamate animistic beliefs with muslim character to create a comprehensive and stabilized world view.

A typical performance consists of the tarawangsa and a plucked instrument called the kacapi. The kacapi provides an almost unshakable ground and pattern on which the tarawangsa creates melody, manipulates timing, reinforces rhythm, and poetically destabilizes the kacapi with glides and silence.





Javanese and Sundanese Gamelan

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Performers

Performers

Performed by the Isi Gamelan Group of Yogyakarta
& the Asti Gamelan Group of Bandung
& the RRI radio station group of Yogyakarta
(Slendro Kuntut Wiranten)

Recorded at Asti Traditional Sundanese Arts School
in Bandung & Isi Traditional Indonesian Arts School
in Yogyakarta & RRI Radio Studio in Bandung
Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer and Suny Lyons / Engineer)

The Gamelan music of Java is intricate yet graceful. Its beauty and power have made it one of the most popular forms of music to come out of Java. Employing bronze keys, gongs, drums, and strings, its lovely interlocking patterns have influenced many western composers, including Bela Bartok, John Cage, Phillip Glass, and Steve Reich. This recording includes examples found in central Java, West Java (Sunda), and in wedding ceremonies throughout the land.

The performance of gamelan music has expressed the worldview of people of Java for hundreds of years. The unique way a gamelan ensemble works together interdependently, creating powerful and graceful music, has defined Javanese music, largely, and has influenced music throughout the world. Gamelan is the name of a large percussion ensemble consisting of various-sized instruments made with bronze gongs and keys. These gongs and keys are either suspended or mounted with wooden frames, thus able to resonate in a variety of ways.

Gamelan music is based on collectively played interlocking patterns in large cycles, with the end of each cycle punctuated by a stroke on the largest gongs. A typical gamelan performance requires 20-30 players and is usually accompanied by vocals and minimal strings.





Endah Jaipongan

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Performers

Group: Endah Parahyangan
Sinden: Omah
Sinden: Cicih
Bonang: Gantar
Kendang: Jaka
Rebab: Nana
Saron I: Deni
Saron II: Ajat
Kentrung: Saepudin
Kecrek: Ujang
Goong: Aas

Recorded at Aru Studio in Bandung
Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer, Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Known for its dark lights and late nights, Klub Endah in Bandung, Java, is home to one of the most energetic and psychadelic Jaipongan groups in the city. This sensually calculated music is made to move people on the dance floor and beyond! This is a raw expression of jaipongan. This tight-knit group is the musical counterpart to dark red lights, alcohol-driven nights, and some of the most unique dancing styles found anywhere in Java!

Though Jaipongan music has, over time, become more refined, in the right hands, its sensual aspects are still fully revealed. Although small in numbers, some clubs still have resident groups that build erotically-charged environments using only a few half-broken instruments, reverb drenched vocals, and powerful drumming. This group in particular, infamous in Bandung Java, unleashes nightly. Under the red lights, alcohol flows freely and hired dancers invite customers onto the dance floor and beyond.

Jaipongan developed out of a genre of ritual and celebration music called ketuk-tilu (three kettle gongs) found in West Java. Ketuk-tilu is known for its complex and dynamic drumming, which is intimately coordinated with a sensual solo female dancer. These performances also included a rebab (a small upright bowed instrument), a gong, and, of course, the ketuk-tilu (three kettle gongs). The original performance context of this music revolved around planting and harvesting rituals. Over time, ketuk-tilu became an outlet for village life to express fertility, sensuality, eroticism, and, at times, socially accepted prostitution.

In 1961, President Sukarno placed a ban on Western music — most specifically, rock and roll — in order to revive traditional Indonesian arts (vocally, at least). This constricting policy did have some creative outcomes: for instance, it inspired the composer/choreographer Gugum Gumbira to expand creatively and re-oufit the dynamic and intense ketuk-tilu music into a new genre.

Working with ketuk-tilu as a basis, Gumbira expanded the instrumentation to be played on a full gamelan, modified the accompanying dance to be a combination of some of the original sensual moves and a popular martial art called pencack silat, and recast the singer’s primary role as singer only, thereby creating a new art form.





Degung Featuring Ujang Suryana

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Performers

Performers

Ujang Suryana: Suling

Recorded at Aru Studio in Bandung
Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer and Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Minimal yet playful, Degung is the musical autograph of the people of West Java. This album features some of the region’s most famous musicians, including the legendary Ujang Suryana. Gamelan degung is played on very few instruments, allowing the character of each melody line to shine forth brightly.

Based on a mere handful of instruments, Gamelan degung has enchanted all of Indonesia with its unique combination of skilled playfulness and simplicity. Developed in West Java, degung was traditionally played as welcoming music for visiting Sundanese aristocracy. Now with a much expanded base, degung has developed into a very popular genre heard streaming through radios all over the country. Live Degung is most often heard at spirited events of lighthearted respect. The combination of skill, art, and play heard in Degung has made it the musical autograph of Sundanese culture.

Gamelan Degung uses only a few of the instruments found in a large Gamelan ensemble. These are the bonang, a row of knobbed gongs, two bronze keyed metallophones called sarons, a drum (the kendang), and, of course, the signature bamboo flute, called a suling. The melody is carried by the bonang and suling as the two saron support them with subtle variations. By using so few instruments, the tones and roles of each shine forth, fostering easy listening.

Four immensely popular degung songs are found in this collection. Both Sabilunguan and Colenak swept the nation and could be heard everywhere from taxi cabs to restaurants. These tracks were composed by Ujang Suryana, a famous blind composer who recorded over 60 albums in a variety of genres before his death in 2005.





Gan Gan Garmana Kacapi Suling

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Performers

Performers

Kacapi: Gan Gan Garmana
Suling: Iwan

Recorded at Aru Studio in Bandung
Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer and Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Gangan Garmana is known throughout West Java for the graceful edge he brings to the kacapi. Stylistically different from Ruk Ruk Rukmana, the internationally-known Garmana brings a contemporary flare to this unique style of music while still preserving all its classic qualities.

Kacapi-suling is the hallmark of classical music throughout West Java. This music is synonymous with West Java’s rich history, heroes, and creative sensibility.A typical kacapi-suling ensemble consists of two kacapis (deep, boat-like zithers) and a bamboo flute called a suling. The kacapis are distinguished by the larger kacapi indung, which offers the basic cyclic structure with syncopated medium octave and bass notes. The smaller kacapi rincik doubles the larger kacapi’s speed and decorates the cycles with intricate ornamentation . The suling flute provides a combination of structured melodies and improvisations and comes to the foreground with flare when there is a pause in the vocal.

Kacapi-suling originates from a style of music called tembang sunda, a sung poetry that is accompanied by the same instruments used today. Dating back to the late 1800’s, Tembang sunda was an aristocratic entertainment that sang not only of past kingdoms, but of the poetry of daily life, of love and loss. Kacapi-suling is the predominantly instrumental version of this type of music, which became popular in the 1970’s, when the recording industry began to thrive in Java. It can be heard in a variety of contexts: all night performances for an audience of musicians, important regional ceremonies, or gigs in hotel lobbies pitched to passers-by.





Bale Bom Dangdut

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Performers

Performed by Bale Bom Dangdut Group

Recorded at Aru Studio in Bandung
Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer and Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Across the nation of Indonesia, the popular music known as dangdut can be heard echoing from dance clubs where singers pass the microphone, the band plays the hits, and the crowd dances along to the signature drum sound,”dang-dut,” an undeniably pop heartbeat prompting people to their feet in dance in clubs across the country. This music has brought more people together than any other, with themes of love, joy, and longing. “HELLO! Everybody Dangdut!”

The degree to which Indonesians are masters of synthesis is demonstrated perfectly by the vivacious Dangdut music. In the 50’s and 60’s, Indian film music was influencing the pop music of Indonesia and its neighbor, Malaysia. Meanwhile, Western pop flooded airwaves all over the world. These two styles made their way into the hearts and minds of Indonesia’s musicians, who were looking for a new form to express political views, love, heartache and playfulness. This new form exploded and became known as Dangdut, titled after the sound of the music’s signature drum (dang-dut, dang-dut).

Today, what’s known as dangdut can be found blaring out of nightclubs high and low. Dangdut’s sleekly dressed female singers take turns being backed by the band and gathering tips. The form echoes a long tradition of female singers being softly courted by men. The atmosphere is sensual, fun, and built to bring people together from all walks of life.

Not unlike the vast majority of local dangdut bands, the one featured here plays songs that are already hits throughout Java. The aim of this album is not to represent the professional side of dangdut. There are already many recordings of the great pros. This recording is an example of how Dangdut exists, night by night, in hundreds of clubs, across Indonesia, that are more interested in keeping the dance floor kinetic
than demonstrating a crystallized version of the art form. This group was found in the locally infamous Club Bale Bom in the dance district of Bandung. Every group has a particular style, and there are some wonderfully inventive ones all over Java. This group combines electric guitar, synthesizer, bamboo flute, and the genre’s signature drum, the gendang.





From the Streets of Java…Zitheran

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Performers

Group: Isi Zitheran Group and Siteran Morosuko
Siter: Narto Sahono
Siter: Harjo Supono
Vocals: Ngatiyam
Vocals: Welas Asih
Kendang: Narto Sahono

Recorded at Isi Traditional Indonesian Arts School in Yogyakarta,
& RRI Radio Studio in Bandung, & Studio Blas in Yogyakarta by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer, Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Indonesia’s hyperactive musicality often finds itself spilling out onto the streets in beautifully unexpected and inventive ways. These musicians may pass the hat or not, but one thing is sure: they can provide passers-by an immediate escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This recording captures a zither-based couple singing classical love songs to each other and their random audiences. Roaming the streets of Yogyakarta, they’ve enchanted the people for decades — come hear why!

One can find some of the most impassioned music in Java on the streets amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. A wide range of musical styles can be heard mixing in with sounds of traffic, cellphones, and calls to prayer. Musicians of all kinds, with different skill levels, take to the streets. They carry instruments, their voices, and a range of hopes and needs anywhere there are possible listeners. Some just want to be heard. Others are working hard to make ends meet. Either way, many of these performances provide intimate encounters with the passion, skill, and individual creativity that lies at the heart of music in Java.

Street musicians are constrained by what they can carry. This limitation often leads to a simplified and creative version of popular songs that are normally instrumentally complex. Many of the songs heard on the streets of Java are interpretations of songs that have traditionally been performed with full 30-piece gamelan orchestras, or at least larger ensembles.

This album captures one of Java’s most portable instruments, the siter (from the Dutch citer/English zither), which can be found resonating solo in the streets or as one voice in the enormous gamelan orchestras of Java. The siter is a thumb-plucked zither. It can be found in three different sizes and octaves ranging from 2-4 feet long. Siters are tuned to one of the two main scales in Javanese music, slendro (a five note scale) or pelog (a seven note scale). They are also the most popular plucked string instruments in the region of central Java.

This album features a variety of performances and arrangements of what is known as Gamelan siteran, traditional gamelan pieces performed on a siter or siters of varying sizes, most often accompanied by drums and vocals.





Badui Village Songs

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Recorded Badui Villages of the West Java Jungle
near Rangkasbitung by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer, Suny Lyons / Engineer)

The Badui of West Java have rejected all modern culture and technology. Protected by the Indonesian government, this village has been able to preserve its historical customs and music. Hear these living representatives of a forgotten time musically integrate themselves into the land with its spirits and cycles. These numerous recordings represent a wide variety of the unique styles found in this culture.

The customs, land, culture,and religious worldview of most remote people are under constant pressure. The Badui people of west Java have religiously committed themselves to maintaining their time tested way of life that rejects both Islam and all of modern technology. Through voluntary isolation over centuries they have preserved an animistic religion that reflects a cosmology shared by the earliest people in this part of the world. This religious worldview revolves around living intimately with the land and its cycles and negotiating with its spirits and inhabitants. In all of Java it would be difficult to find another group tuned into natures rhythms.

Understandably, the music of the Badui reflects the qualities that are needed to live out their unique lifestyle. Through this music one can hear a strong focus on community, simplicity as well as large degree of attention to delicate balances.

This album represents many of the styles of music and instrumentation found throughout several of the villages that make up the Badui territory. The tracks begin with a small kacapi (zither) and violin (made of solid wood) duo. Next is a small gamelan degung set that
includes metallaphones, wooden xylophones, gongs, and a violin. The final tracks are recordings of a planting and harvest ceremony held only at certain times of the year. During these performances large groups of elderly men and young boys alike come together and dance in a circle while singing and rattling bamboo tubes called Anklung. These songs pass on history and ways of life in the Badui community as well as hopes for a productive harvest a prosperous community.





Balinese Cremation Music

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Performers

Performed by the Bukit Sari Anklung Group

Recorded in Bali by Kai Riedl

This album, recorded in Bali, represents the shimmering cremation music heard throughout the island. During funeral ceremonies this music directs the attention and mood of the crowd. If you died in Bali and your ears still worked, this is the music you would hear. Played by an orchestra of eighteen, all in seamless synchronicity, this recording sheds light on the dynamic gamelan style found in Java’s neighboring island.

Just east of Java sits the rather small island of Bali. Bali has a distinctly different culture. While the rest of Indonesia predominantly follows Islam, the people of Bali practice a localized form of Hinduism. This makes Bali home to a rich and highly ritualized culture with distinct worldview, ethos, and artistic expressions. One of Bali’s most creative expressions is a rapid and dynamic playing of gamelan (a large percussive ensemble of knobbed gongs and bronze keys).

Gamelan music in Bali is most immediately recognizable by its unmatched speed and loud/soft dynamics, which have become the island’s musical trademark. Gamelan playing can be heard all over the island and is used for a variety of ceremonies, each of which requires a specific style
of performance. There are many different styles of gamelan found in Bali and the unique Balinese funeral has its own. It is known as gamelan angklung. This style is performed on a set of highly portable instruments that have only four or five notes each, mostly within the same octave.

It is important to know that a Balinese cremation ceremony is not a somber occasion. Though it is an event that requires a distinct mood, timely coordination, and a good deal of energy, its overall tone is not sadness. There are things to be done and duties have to be carried out, literally! The entire process is directed, largely, by a shimmering music.

Beginning at the house of the deceased, the community gathers to pay respects before proceeding to the cremation grounds, where the body will
be released. A group of gamelan musicians, ranging in numbers from 15-30, will already be at the house of the deceased, playing soft and slow pieces to promote lightheartedness and interaction amongst the guests.





Kacapi Suling Music Featuring Euis Komariah

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Performers

Vocal: Euis Komariah
Vocal: Ros
Kacapi Indung: Gangan Garmana
Kacapi Ricink: RukRuk Rukmana
Suling: Iwan

Recorded at Aru Studio in Bandung Java, Indonesia by Electrophoria
(Kai Riedl / Producer, Suny Lyons / Engineer)

Gangan Garmana is known throughout West Java for the graceful edge he brings to the kacapi. Stylistically different from Ruk Ruk Rukmana, the internationally known Garmana brings a contemporary flare to this unique style of music while still preserving all its classic qualities.

Kacapi-suling is the hallmark of classical music throughout west java. This music is synonymous with west java’s rich history, heroes, and creative sensibility.

A typical kacapi-suling ensemble consists of two kacapis (deep, boat-like zithers) and a bamboo flute called a suling. The kacapis are distinguished by the larger kacapi indung, which offers the basic cyclic structure with syncopated medium octave and bass notes. The smaller kacapi rincik doubles the larger kacapis speed and decorates the cycles with intricate ornamentations . The suling flute provides combinations of structured melodies with improvisations and comes to the foreground with flare when there is a pause in the vocal.

Kacapi-suling originates from a style of music called tembang sunda, a sung poetry that is accompanied by the same instruments used today.
Dating back to the late 1800’s, Tembang sunda was an aristocratic entertainment that not only sang of past kingdoms, but of the poetry of daily life, of love and loss. Kacapi-suling is the predominantly instrumental version of this type of music that became popular in the 1970’s when the recording industry began to thrive in Java. It can be heard in a variety of contexts: all night performances for an audience of musicians, important regional ceremonies, or gigs in hotel lobbies pitched to passers by.