World music is coming to Bali! For four days, March 24-27, the IMEX – Indonesian Music Festival is kicking off at the Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud. Stepping up on stage to dazzle and delight is a dynamic assortment of over 100 musicians and vocalists flying in from Aceh, Kalimantan, Flores, and from as far as Timor. These top Indonesian music groups, many of whom have performed at prestigious world music festivals, will showcase their talent, ranging from unique indigenous tribal music to jazz, plus an ensemble version of the Indonesian National Orchestra.
Have you heard of Kande, one of the most popular world music groups in Indonesia? Kande is from Aceh and led by Rafli, a singer-songwriter with superb vocal quality. Rafli’s unique voice has hypnotized thousands of adoring fans and music audiences internationally. Want to get your Sufi vibe on? Be sure to catch Suarasama from Medan, North Sumatra. How about jazz? Aksilarasi, a group from Lombok, blends a unique jazz sound with indigenous Sasak gamelan music.
Festival Director Franki Raden has handpicked all 17 Indonesian music groups. Check the schedule and be sure not to miss the unique ancient music of Dadendate. You will not have heard this style of music anywhere. Bringing something extremely rare to the stage comes easily to Franki, a composer, ethnomusicolgist and musician himself. He has an ear for tracking down unique indigenous Indonesian music.
“I had to travel for hours, to the middle of nowhere in Central Sulawesi to find this tribe,” Franki said, “Their ancient form of music dates back to the mythical Kingdom of Sindue.
It is very intricate and conveyed in a unique storytelling style.” He continued, “Locating them was quite an effort and a little tricky. However, when I finally heard their music, I was captivated by the blending of their melodic vocal line and instruments. You are in for a treat – it is one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard. Don’t miss it.”
The musical arrangement by Pinkan Indonesia from North Sulawesi is another unique sound with a repertoire blending Minahasan songs with jazz, rock, and classical music. That’s quite an offering! Where will you ever get to hear this? Catch the Indigenous rhythms of Cilokaq, hailing from Nusa Tenggara Barat. They provide a mix of Kroncong style with influences of Chinese music fused with Arabic tones and traditional Lombok music.
Orchestra goers will be delighted with the INO Ensemble, a version of the Indonesian National Orchestra, who have performed in various prestigious festivals across the globe. Their music combines regional music from all over Indonesia, composed by Festival Director Franki Raden and blended into a contemporary style.
Get ready to take a mystical sound journey for four days. You can also catch some talks, panel discussions, film screenings, and workshops. The crossroads of Indonesian culture will come together in Ubud, and a paradise of world music awaits you. Plus, when you get hungry, find your way to the food bazaar.
Day time: 10am-3pm for Open Stage – Free Daytime
Evening Performance: From 5pm-9pm
Venue: Puri Lukisan Museum and Betelnut, Ubud, Bali
By Stephanie Brookes