Home | Vol 7 Table of Contents | Previous Issues | Contact Us: 07 55278753 / 0405463663 | Email: judybyronbay@yahoo.com

Deni Oseng from Krakatau

Floating on the breeze, the sweet sound of Sundanese suling, tinkling through the trees, the peaceful gamelan gongs, resonating across the fields and hills of the North Coast calderra. Through their connection with visiting musician Deni Oseng from Krakatau, local gamelan students and musicians from as far away as Sydney, Armidale and the Gold Coast were enjoying a fresh burst of enthusiasm and new ideas. At the completion of the National Krakatau tour, gamelan musician Deni Tudi Rahayu (Oseng), was invited to visit the NSW North Coast as a cultural guest of the community. During November 2000 he participated in cultural exchange activities and shared his wealth of knowledge and experience of traditional and contemporary gamelan through gamelan workshops, school visits, demonstrations and performances.

On 4 November Oseng commenced teaching two workshops every week in Byron Shire in traditional and contemporary gamelan with Byron Gamelan Ensemble, AIAA members and the community. He was also invited to provide workshops and demonstrations at Byron High School, Evans River School, Byron Public School, Wollongbar Public School and Byron Community School as well as visiting a Dept of Education Immersion Day at Ocean Shores.

Besides that Oseng was invited for a three day visit to Newcastle-Maitland area by gamelan teacher Mike Burns. While there his activities included teaching workshops with East Maitland Community Gamelan, Novo Kasatria and Vale of Kashmir and becoming guest teacher at the Linuwel Steiner School. While in the North Coast Oseng also found time to teach at Labrador Public School and St Stephens School in the Gold Coast area and to perform at Labrador Public School Multicultural Day. He also took a trip to Armidale to visit David Goldsworhty at UNE and teach workshops with Gamelan Suara Naga.

Other activities during Oseng's residency included collaborations with local Indonesian and Australian musicians, as well as hosting a visit to the area by acclaimed Sydney musicians of GengGong fame- Ron Reeves(Warogus), Reza Achman and Deva Permana ( who have formed their own exciting new band - Anything But Roy , culminating in a Farewell Concert at the end of November. A highly successful and worthwhile project!

Financial Structure
Yes, it can be done, to undertake a Musician-in-Residence project without funding and with no money in hand.

When considering undertaking an Indonesian Artist-in-Residence project, the costs involved are basically travel, living expenses and accommodation. If the airfare is provided by another project, such as in this case, the Krakatau Tour 2000, accommodation and food can be provided by biletting and the living expenses (uang saku) are provided by the tuition fees of students attending the course. In this way the project has basically paid for itself.

The Krakatau Musician-in-Residence project undertaken by the AIAA NSW North Coast Branch in conjunction with Arimba Culture Exchange is an example of an extension project- a very low cost, effective way to initiate a residency project. The Krakatau Musician-in-Residence Project was proposed by Arif Hidayat from Arimba Culture Exchange in Sydney. Arimba undertook the highly successful Krakatau Tour 2000. Arif suggested to the AIAA NSW Nth Coast Branch that a member of Krakatau may be interested in returning to Byron Bay after the completion of the tour in order to teach gamelan and experience artistic exchange with local musicians.

Deni Tudi Rahayu was interested in participating in the project and as the Krakatau tour had already provided his return airfare from Indonesia, other costs involved such as his airfare Sydney- Ballina, living expenses, petrol, phone calls etc were all covered by tuition fees. Accommodation and board were provided by host families and AIAA members. The Krakatau Musician-in-Residence Project was highly successful. This one month residency provided tuition, stimulation and experience of Indonesian culture to an enormoues number of people of four regional areas, in two states, at no cost whatever to the organisation itself within a very short space of time.

Gamelan class in Myocum NSW

Interview with Deni Oseng

Musician-in-Residence, NSW North Coast interviewed by Peter Dawson, Presenter BayFM Community Radio.
Interpreter: Pauline Long - AIAA Member
Translation: Judith Shelley - AIAA Member

PD: Deni, can I ask you what part of Indonesia do you come from?
Oseng: I come from Jawa Barat, Bandung.

PD: And can you tell us a bit about the area around Bandung?
Oseng: Daerah Bandung mungkin dengan banyak pegunungan, a lot of mountains dan udaranya agak dingin, tidak terlalu panas. Penduduknya juga tidak terlalu banyak seperti di Jakarta, dan juga banyak Univertitas buat pelajar2 belajar. Juga enak buat istirehat kayaknya. Bandung area is surrounded by mountains and the climate is quite cool. Not too hot. And there are not so many people as Jakarta.In Bandung there are many universities and also nice for a rest.

PD: I understand there is quite a lot of musical activity in Bandung.
Oseng: Di Bandung banyak juga, ada juga band2 seperti band di Australia, ada top 40, ada apa, juga banyak kesenian tradisi Bandung sendiri - Sunda, kesenian Jawa Barat, seperti main gamelan, main kendang. Disana banyak grup2 gamelan Sunda, juga ada Sekolah Tinggi Seni khusus seni di Jawa Barat di Bandung, ya seni Sunda. Yes there is quite a lot of music around Bandung. As in Australia there are quite a lot of bands, like Top 40 bands, also a lot of traditional art, like traditional Sundanese music, gamelan. There are also art schools specifically for studying traditional music.

PD: You perform with Krakatau - is that your only band?
Oseng: Mungkin dengan Krakatau, tidak hanya dengan Krakatau, ada juga dengan grup lain seperti Idea, Sambasunda, dengan Ismet Ruchimat, dan Ade juga. Saya juga bergabung dengan Krakatau dengan Dwiki, juga tidak semua Krakatau, tapi ada yang lain juga.
I perform with Krakatau, and also with other groups like Idea, Sambasunda and Ismet Ruchimat, and Ade. I also make other music with Dwiki from Krakatau.

PD: Is this work with Dwiki working in contemporary or traditional music?
Oseng: Saya dengan Dwiki lebih ke kontemporer - dia kuat di musik Barat dan mungkin saya di musik tradisi. Dwiki juga sekarang mempelajari banyak tentang music tradisi dan dia sudah banyak bisa tentang musik tradisi Sunda, Bali, Sumatra, Jawa. Sekarang saya lagi konsentrasi dengan Krakatau. Dengan mereka mungkin ada acara2 yang paling dekat, saya mau bikin pertunjukkan di Istana Negara di Indonesia buat Malam Tahun Baru, dengan Symphony, dengan orchestra. Krakatau di iringi orchestra di sana. Dan untuk ke depan juga ada rencana buat Ethnik 2000 di Malaysia dan ada festival di Chicago Amerika.
The music I make with Dwiki is more contemporary because Dwiki's strength is in Westeren music and mine is in traditional music. Dwiki has now been learning a lot about traditional music such as music from Sunda, Bali, Sumatra and Java. At the moment I am concentrating on my work with Krakatau - performances I am working towards at the moment include a performance at the palace for New Year with Symphony Orchestra. Krakatau will be accompanied by a Symphony Orchestra. We also plan to perfom at Ethnic 2000 in Malaysia and then there is a festival in Chicago in America.

PD: Do you feel that the combination of traditional and contemporary music has an appeal outside Indonesia?
Oseng: Ya, mungkin kollaborasi di musik Krakatau dengan adanya saya ikut festival tahun yg lalu di sini di Australi di Jazz Festival, juga ada di Singapore, di Perancis juga, di Midem 2000. Saya pernah main disana dan kebetulan menjadi band yang buka Festival Cannes di Perancis, di Midem 2000. Dan masyarakat banyak yang menyukai musik yang saya mainkan.
Collaborating with Krakatau I have performed at Manly Jazz Festival, also in Singapore and in France Midem 2000. Actually we were the opening band for the Cannes Festival in France, and the people were very interested in Krakatau's music.

PD: Next year we have the Womadelaide Festival in Adelaide, have you heard of the Womad Festivals and do you hope to perform at one of the festivals in the near future?
Oseng: Ya saya, rencana ada mengikuti Festival di Womadelaide tapi belum pasti, tapi rencana sudah ada dan tinggal memastikan bulan apa ada festival Mungkin ada yang mengurus. Rencana sudah ada.
We have a plan to perform at Womadelaide, but its not definite yet. The month needs to be confirmed. I think someone is working on it at the moment, but we do have a plan.

PD: At the performance in Byron Bay the instrumentation included drum kit, keyboard etc, but the ones that created the most interest were the traditional instruments. Are these instruments hard to get hold of or are there still plenty being made in Indonesia?
Oseng: Ya untuk alat-alat musik tradisi disana masih banyak dan banyak terdapat dimana2 di Bandung di Jawa Barat dan juga di Jawa Tengah, di Jawa Timur. Di Bandung masih tidak susah untuk mendapatkan gamelan. Mungkin ada lagu2 yang sangat lama sekali yang sudah hilang sebagian dan harus di cari2 dulu dan itu sangat sedikit sekali. Orang yang mempelajari seni tradisi yang sudah lama harus di cari dulu. Alat tidak , alatnya banyak di dapat tapi lagunya harus di tanyak sama orang yg sudah tua2.
There are plenty of traditional instruments, in Bandung, in Central Java, East Java, they are easy to find. But there are some songs that have been lost and have to be sought because they are very few. People who study old traditional arts must search first. The instruments no, there are still plenty of instruments but for the songs we have to ask the older musicians.

PD: Do you feel that the importance of traditional Indonesian music can be continued with contemporary music.
Oseng: Ya itu maksudnya.. mungkin dengan saya bergabung dengan Krakatau, dengan Dwiki di Krakatau, untuk saya bikin musik kollaborasi antara musik tradisi dan musik barat itu mungkin bisa juga salah satu yang melestarikan budaya tradisi Sunda sendiri dengan memakai alat band, memakai kendang, bisa terangkat juga.
Maybe I am working with Krakatau creating collaboration between Indonesian and Western music in order to preserve traditional Sundanese music by using band instruments, using kendang, it can be raised up also.

PD: With the music of Krakatau, I've heard one album - Mystical Mist, what is your favourite song from the album?
Oseng: Di Mystical Mist kebetulan saya paling suka lagu Mystical Mist.
My favourite song is actually Mystical Mist.

PD: Why do you particularly like that one and tell us a bit more about the other songs.
Oseng: Ya, kenapa saya memilih itu - di dalam lagu itu sangat banyak kollaborasi di antara bass, keyboard, suling, vocal apa yang bersautan , suling yang mengayung - enak sekali. Ya kalau saya pikir tidak terlalu banyak beat ada yang bersautan itu.
Maybe I choose that song because in that song is a lot of collaboration between bass, keyboard, bamboo flute and vocal, the flowing flute - very nice. If I think about it, it doesn't have too much beat, it's a really nice sound.

PD: With the pieces where there is a lot of percussion, a lot of drumming, do you feel that this is a way of plugging into a sort of international language, because drumming has become very poplular?
Oseng: Ya mungkin selain Mystical Mist saya suka kalau saya performance kalau saya main itu permainan percussion yang dinamis yang banyak belatak belatak -dan itu sangat banyak di suka orang - bisa di guna untuk dans dan waktu saya main di Perancis, kalau saya main dengan percussion, pasti banyak yang main - many people dancing.
Beside Mystical Mist, I like performing songs with a lot of dynamic percussion, with a lot of belatak sounds and that style is very popular. It can be used for dancing like when I played in France. If I play percussion usually many people are dancing.

PD: Do you feel that through your music you can create closer cultural ties and cultural exchange between Australia and Indonesia?
Oseng: Saya pikir dengan adanya pertukaran budaya dengan kesenian - seni budaya di antara Australi dan Indonesia, saya bisa mengenal musik di Australi dan orang2 sini juga orang Byron, orang Sydney juga bisa kenal musik Indonesia. Saya pikir itu bisa memerarat hubungan di antara negara dan terutama antara manusia - mereka senang musik saya dan saya juga senang musik mereka. Saya bisa bermain bersama, disini juga saya punya teman banyak, musisi2 dari Australi, dari Byron ada Greg Sheehan, ada Greg juga namanya, ada Gary dari Canberra. Saya sangat senang sekali bisa main dengan mereka dan dia sangat bagus sekali mainnya, Beat2nya banyak, hitungan2 sulit juga kalau bermain konsentrasi - bagus sekali dia.
I think that through cultural exchange and art exchange between Australia and Indonesia I can learn a lot about Australian music. People here in Byron and in Sydney can understand more about Indonesian music, it can create understanding between our two countries, and especially as human beings. I can play together with people here. I have many musician friends here in Byron like Greg Sheehan, another Greg, Gary from Canberra. I really like to play with them and they play really well. They have many rhythms which are quite difficult also, requiring concentration - they are really good.

PD: The wonderful thing about having you here in Australia and particularly in Byron Bay is that wonderful interaction between musicians. For example Ron Reeves is a musician based in Sydney who has a band called GengGong. He was also working with a band in Indonesia called Earth Music I think. Can you tell me a bit about Ron and your opinion about the work that he has been doing.
Oseng: Ron Reeves sebagai musisi di Australia dia sangat lama sekali kenal sama saya. Dia bagus sekali main perkussi dan dia bergabung dengan GengGong dan dia juga mempelajari drum Sunda, kendang Sundanese dan dia bagus juga mainnya. Di Indonesia GengGong juga cukup banyak mengandung perhatian dan sangat saya lihat ada perhatian juga dari musisi2 Indonesia dengan adanya GengGong bisa main di Indonesia disana ada Mas Jabo, teman saya Reza ada Kim.
Ron Reeves is a musician in Australia who I have known for a very long time. He is very good at playing percussion music, he plays with GengGong and studies Sundanese drum - he plays very well. In Indonesia GengGong created a lot of attention and were very well received by musicians in Indonesia. They also include Mas Jabo, my friend Reza and Kim.

PD: Sawung Jabo.
Oseng: Ya, Sawung Jabo. Waktu mereka main di Indonesia main juga barang dengan saya ngejam-jam dengan saya dengan teman2 banyak disana dengan Krakatau juga. Ngobrol2 tentang musik, tentang apa, dan saya pikir GengGong bagus ya itu - untuk satu pemajuan, maksudnya mereka banyak bawa musik tradisi Indonesia untuk lebih diperkenalkan di dunia International, saya pikir bagus sekali.
When they played in Indonesia they also played with me, jamming together with me and lots of friends like Krakatau and talking a lot about music and things. One of the positive things they do is to introduce Indonesian traditional music to an international audience, they're really excellent.

PD: Thanks very much.
Oseng: You're welcome.
PD: We've been talking with Deni Tudi Rahayu ( Oseng ) from the band Krakatau.

Home | Vol 7 Table of Contents | Previous Issues