Indonesian all-stars fuse styles
- Indonesian all-stars fuse styles
by DAVID DUPONT
Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor
A super star band will make its second stop of its first American tour in Bowling Green
The name of the band Krakatau, is not likely to be familiar, nor the name of the two pop jazz
stars who founded the group, Dwiki Dharmawan, who plays keyboards, and Pra Budi Dharma,
who plays fretless electric bass guitar. But in their native Indonesia, they have been pop icons
since before the band was created.
Though both have extensive careers aside from Krakatau, that ensemble is their pet project,
according to Jeremy Wallach, of Bowling Green.
The ensemble brings together jazz, element of Western pop and traditional Indonesian music.
Krakatau give a free concert Sunday at 7 p.m in 101 Olscamp Hall at BGSU.
Wallach, an ethnomusicologist who teaches in the BGSU Departement of Popular Culture, got
to know the band through his studies of Indonesian pop music. He, along with David Harnish of
the College of Musical Arts, are coordinating the band's visit.
Wallach first encountered their distinctive sound on a audio tape given to him a by a friend. The
band's music is also featured on the recording that accompanies "Worlds of Music ," widely
assigned text on world music.
But that's as far as the group has managed to penetrate the America market. The band's CDs
has been released on labels that are not available outside of Indonesia.
The band members, Wallach said, are interested to coming to United States, the birthplace of
Jazz, especially the kind fused with rock, is a fashionable music in Indonesia. "Rich urban
people like Western music and jazz is the most prestigious", Wallach said.
Dharmawan and Darma, both made good living playing this kind of music in night spots in
Jakarta. But they wanted something more.
On a Visit to New Orleans they saw a street band in playing. They understood that New
Orleans and America was the place the music they loved was born. That realization about the
roots of jazz inspired them to explore the roots of the music of their own country.
Neither had any experience or training in traditional Indonesian music. So they recruited two of
the traditional masters Adhe Rudiana, who plays barrel drums and traditional percussion, and
Yoyon Dharsono, who plays a variety of wind instruments and spike fiddle.
Together with vocalist Trie Utami, who is not on tour with the ensemble, they blended the
fusion jazz of Miles Davis' electric band and Weather Report, with the surging rhythms and
sweet-sour tunings in the music of Sundanese region. The rhythms employ odd groupings of
notes and the melodies have tones that fall in the cracks between keys on the European piano.
The band embraces a free-wheeling style with the songs evolving as it goes. Wallach said he
hopes there's room in Olscamp 101 for dancing.
Wallach said Krakatau's visit is epesecially relevant given the world situation. The band
members, who are mostly Muslim, seeks to reach out across cultural boundaries with their music.
"Their music is about harmony, bridging cultural groups and celebrating the joy of life".
More info about Krakatau, please see www.krakatau.net