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Music of Indonesia, Vol. 20: Indonesian Guitars

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Music of Indonesia, Vol. 20: Indonesian Guitars album cover
01
Kemayoran
4:56
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02
Stambul Naturil
4:02
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03
Terang Bulan
5:55
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Ludu Pambuhang
6:16
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Sungguh Terpaksa
4:16
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Quin Tallu-Tallu
6:19
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Nasib Mak Kualon
6:28
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Langgam Di Bawah Sinar Bulan Purnama
4:58
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Kolo Kot Matani
6:57
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Nasib Muara Kuang
6:20
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Ludu Parinna
9:47
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Fajar Di Atas Awan
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 12   Total Length: 73:34

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Wondering Sound

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Chris Nickson

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Chris Nickson lives in Leeds, England, the city where he was born. He moved back to the UK in 2005 after spending 30 years in the US, where he freelanced for nu...more »

04.22.11
Various Artists - Smithsonian Folkways, Music of Indonesia, Vol. 20: Indonesian Guitars
Label: Smithsonian Folkways

Yes, it's the guitar, but not always as we know it. Some of the instruments here are homemade, occasionally fantastic interpretations of the idea of a guitar, while others are the real thing. Either way, it's the music that captivates, whether it's "Stambul Naturil," a surprising song that sounds as if it's been plucked directly from Appalachia, or a tune that's zoomed in from another planet like "Kolo Kot Matani." What it illustrates perfectly is… read more »

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not-just-yeti

Definitely an interesting album, and somehow more accessible than most Indonesian music, to my western/rock(ish) ears. Over several years of DJing at a college radio station I listened to about half of the 20 volumes of this Smithsonian Folkways collection. This 20th volume is the only one I went out and bought! The tracks are varied, but all are strong (except for #8; I'm not a fan of the hawaiian / slide guitar sound). Download a couple, and if you like them get the rest!

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They Say All Music Guide

Smithsonian Folkways made its reputation by digging in the dustiest of archives and traveling to the most remote regions of the American countryside in search of music that is on the edge of extinction. With its Music of Indonesia series, however, the number of dark corners to dig in increase hundredfold.
Indonesia’s archipelago of islands, if superimposed on Europe, would stretch all of the way from Ireland to the edge of the Caspian sea. There are more than 300 ethnic groups there, and nearly as many languages. The information age has brought a national culture to Indonesia but it still remains a country of incredibly distinct ethnic hamlets. The musical diversity that this produces is evident on Music of Indonesia. Vol. 20: Indonesian Guitars. The guitars that most likely arrived with the Portuguese in the sixteenth century were quickly absorbed into numerous indigenous music styles, though no written record of their existence would be found until the end of the 19th century. Today, they are largely used in 20th century styles (not exclusively pop styles — also quickly shifting folk styles, as well as foreign styles of music showing Indian, Hawaiian, Western and religious influences).
This collection pulls together a sampling of this music, all utilizing either a traditional six-string guitar or one of its two or four string homemade variants. Every track is fascinating — thankfully Smithsonian has not chosen simply to stick with pure folk styles, instead providing a cross-section of many styles of music, beautiful, humorous, jubilant or sacred. Some of the most interesting tracks include “Sungguh Terpaksa,” where the musician has turned a two-string guitar into an electric instrument by attaching a car speaker as a pickup and has performed one of the songs of nationally known (and urban) songwriter Rhoma Irma. The song was recorded in the deep country which reportedly made the performance hilarious for the audience, who, accustomed to being mocked by the urbane, find irony in the fact that city music has been crammed onto two strings of a guitar on a tiny stage. “Laggam Di Baway Sinar Bulan Purnama,” is an example of laggam, a descendant of the first Indonesian popular music. This song is an incredibly pleasant combination of electric Hawaiian guitars, European flute, melody guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, banjo, and cello, showing how a collection of foreign instruments can be used to create something purely Indonesian.
“Fajar Di Atas Awan,” a composition performed by a team of Indonesian ethnomusicologists, shows how world music influences (especially Indian and Indonesian pop music along with Islamic sacred music) can be synthesized in one song. The goal of Suarasama, the group that is featured here, is to bridge cultural boundaries through music; this gentle song is the final track in the Music of Indonesia series does just that and serves as a wonderful way to end the project. – Stacia Proefrock

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