Spotlight on Indonesian Artistes
The BaliSpirit Festival 2010 showcased a number of music and dance artistes from Indonesia, with offerings ranging from kecak dance and gamelan to percussion and ballads.
One highly visible percussionist lending support to dance workshops and overseas musicians is Catur Widodo, who heads a percussion ensemble called Hamanah in Bali. With his long dreadlocks and beaming smile, he has provided artistic and energetic support at many sessions!
He is widely regarded as the first African-inspired percussionist in Indonesia. Catur also spent five years in Australia, mostly in Sydney. He studied and performed with a number of African musicians based in Australia, who often regarded him as one of their own and called him ‘brother.’
“I think African drumming does something deep to me, I had a stronger affinity for African drums than for our own gamelan,” he explained in an interview with me after his own drumming workshop and two other energetic sessions providing percussion support for the West African dance workshops conducted by Ojeya Cruz Banks.
Catur also jammed at last year’s festival in Bali with overseas artistes like Ghana reggae star Rocky Dawuni. This year he is part of a recording and stage session with another Australia-based musician from Ghana, Afro Moses.
“I drum for peace,” says Catur. He also conducts percussion workshops for kids, organises drum sessions every full moon at Echo Beach, and plays at Bali Safari. Drumming helps people concentrate and stay focused, and this can help them in yoga, says Catur.
Another high-profile Indonesian, this time from Bandung, who is featured at BaliSpirit Festival is D’Cinnamons, who will be delivering a pop and ballad session. She is hugely popular among Indonesian youth, and will be an important brand ambassador for the health awareness campaigns promoted at the Festival.
“My father is a doctor and my mother a pharmacist. They were against my decision to become a singer initially, but later on accepted my decision after I became successful,” she joked to me in an interview.
And of course, fans at the Festival’s evening music shows will never forget the hypnotic percussive bliss of Indonesian gamelan troupes such as Cudamani and Nyoman Windha ensemble.
Highlights of Indonesian culture are a staple part of the BaliSpirit Festival, and the coming years will see even more tight collaboration between artistes from Indonesia and overseas.
Written by : Madanmohan Rao