Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Indonesian Music Via Bali to the World

IndonesianMusic Expo 2011(IMEX) to be held on the Peninsula at Nusa Dua, Bali November7-14, 2011

(11/6/2011) The originator of the idea for the Indonesia Music Expo 2011(Imex), Franki Raden, told a press conference in Bali on Friday, November 4,2011, that Imex is intended to serve as an inspiration for traditionalmusicians to help them express themselves in the challenging internationalmusic market.

“At this point in time, Indonesian music, especially traditional ethnic music,is known internationally, but few from this sector have managed to penetratethe international market,” explained Raden. Raden is proud that his countryIndonesia has a rich variety of music and cultures, with each area of Indonesiapossesing a distinctive style of music.

“The richness of Indonesian music, from Sabang to Merauke, if counted for itsvarieties is equal to Africa, Latin America and Europe. For this reason, Imexwants to give the widest opportunity to our musical heroes to win the hearts ofthe international music buyers,” said Raden.

Franki Raden is a nationally known music critic. He is also planning to publisha guide to Indonesian music for international distribution.

The Imex event at Nusa Dua will present more than 40 musical groups, includingthe Toba Ensemble (Sumatra), Kulintang (Sulawesi), Gambang Kromong (Jakarta),Sambasunda (Bandung, West Java) and Rindik (Bali). International musiciansexpected to perform, include TLJ Alliance (U.S.A.), Hunny Madu (Malaysia), andJack Lee & SKY (Korea).

During the series of performance each evening November 7-14 from 5:00 – 10:00p.m., an exhibition of musical instruments and musical workshops will besimultaneously held. reports that international musical icon, Quincy Jones, is expectedto visit Bali on November 20, 2011, to attend Imex. Jones, an accomplishedmusician in his own right, has produced million-selling records for a number ofmusical greats including Michael Jackson. Raden told the press that Jones willcome to Indonesia to explore the wide Indonesian musical spectrum.

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Saman Dance Officially Recognized by Unesco as World Heritage

UNESCOofficially recognized Aceh’s traditional Saman Dance as an intangible elementof world cultural heritage during a session in Bali on Thursday.

The decision was announced during the sixth session of UNESCO’sIntergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible CulturalHeritage, taking place in Bali from Nov. 22 to 29.

“The UNESCO secretariat, and then NGOs and experts, have checked the documents[on Saman Dance], and we proposed them to the session in Bali this morning,“ Tourismand Creative Economy Ministry spokesman I Gusti Ngurah Putra said in a pressstatement on Thursday.

“And thank God [Saman] was declared as having met the requirements. Saman hasbeen officially included in the list of intangible cultural heritage, whichneeds UNESCO’s urgent protection,” he added, as quoted by Antara.

Indonesia proposed the UNESCO listing of the Saman Dance in March 2010.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Miss Tjitjih Keeps Sundanese Theater Alive

Membersof the traditional Sundanese theater troupe Miss Tjitjih still take pride inbeing associated with the group, even if its glory days are in the past.

The troupe has been plagued with financial struggles the past couple of years,which has meant that the members can now only give the rare performance.

Formed in 1928 in Jakarta under the name Opera Valencia, the troupe’s heydaystretched over decades. It used to sell out theaters, with hundreds of peoplesitting rapt for hours as the troupe performed its trademark mix of comedy andhorror. Later the troupe changed its name to Miss Tjitjih, a moniker inspiredby the “prima donna” character of the group.

During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in the 1940s, Miss Tjitjih was oneof the many theater troupes used to disseminate propaganda. The Japanesebelieved that theater had the power to influence people.

Through it all, Miss Tjitjih has managed to stand the test of time, even afterit temporarily lost its home theater to a fire in 1997. But the troupepersevered and took its show on the road.

“From 1998 to 2000 we would still get around 150 people, mostly lower-classpeople like becak [rickshaw] drivers, coming out and enjoying our shows,” saidDadan “Ude” Supriyatna, who plays gamelan for Miss Tjitjih.

But as television stations started to offer more contemporary programming inthe early 2000s, the troupe’s audiences decreased significantly.

“There were just so many choices of entertainment on TV, including soap operas,”said Kokom Kusnadi, who has been a member of Miss Tjitjih for 20 years.“Whenever there is a football match on TV, we only have about 20 people comingto our show.”

And where once they would perform nightly, they cut back to twice a week andthen once a week. Now they perform whenever they can.

“We have a show on Saturday night but it depends on when the subsidy from thelocal administration is available,” Ude said. “We only had 10 shows in 2011.”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Indonesia hosting UNESCO meeting on cultural heritage

Indonesiais hosting the 6th session of the UNESCO Committee for the Safeguarding ofIntangible Cultural Heritage at Nusa Dua, Bali, on Nov 22-29.

Indonesia has been elected by acclamation as chief of the committee and host ofthe meeting by 24 would-be host countries at the committee`s fifth session inNairobi, Kenya, in November 2010, the deputy for cultural affairs to theeducation and culture minister, Wiendu Nuryanti, said in a press conferencehere on Tuesday.

"Indonesia sees intangible cultural heritage as a strategic issue andIndonesia itself has a wide range of cultural heritage," she said.

The session will bring together more than 500 delegates from 137 parties to the2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage,leading international non-governmental organizations, and experts in culture.

Indonesia has been the 83rd party to the convention since January 15, 2008.Since then, it has been actively participating in the safeguarding ofintangible cultural heritage.

Indonesia was appointed a member of the 24-nation inter-government committeefor a four-year term at the general assembly of parties to the convention inParis in July last year.

The convention is aimed at protecting intangible cultural heritage, such astradition, language, arts show, custom, knowledge and traditional handicraft.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bali Bohemia: The Seventh Annual Yak Awards 2011

TheSeventh Annual Yak Awards 2011, with a "Bali Bohemia" theme, willfeature 14 chefs and mixologist and culinary contributions from some of Bali’sleading hotels and restaurants during an evening dedicated to honoring leadersin Bali's business and private sectors.

More than 600 industry and community guests, nominees, advertisers and sponsorsare expected to attend the yearly society event on Bali’s calendar set forFriday, September 30, 2011, starting at 6pm at the Tugu Hotel, Canggu.

Guests and invitees are urged to be “quirky,” dressing in a “Nouveau Trad”style that presents new slants on traditional Indonesian fashion and textiles.

The evening will also mark the debut of Bali’s new champenoise label Carat 22served with wines sponsored by Indowines and beer from Heineken.

As in past years, music and dance will mark the Yak Award celebration withperformances by “Sonic Soul,” dance and music by Mekar Buana Conservatory andNyoman Sura, Jegog Siwentra, Suarmantra, Vocal performances by Yasmin Sutejaand Yuki, and a range of top local DJ talent.

The gala evening will be hosted at Bali’s Tugu Hotel, Canggu.

The raison d'ĂȘtre for the evening is recognition of achievement in a number ofindustry categories awarded by The Yak Magazine's directors, to outstandingindividuals and companies in Bali.

Voting through [The Yak Magazine’s website] , closes on September 28, 2011, andwill be tabulated on-line by web provider, Island Communications.

The categories for awards in 2011 are: Best Chef, Best Sunset Venue, BestRestaurant, Best Wine List, Best DJ, Yak Woman of the Year, Yak Man of theYear, Best Community Services Award, Best Bar, Best Villa, Best Spa, BestFashion Label, Best Jewelers, Best Resort, Best Ad Campaign, Best Event andOutstanding Achievement Award.

Pre-Event Tickets are Rp. 350,000 (US$39) with pre-sale tickets available untilSeptember 29, 2011. On the door ticket price is Rp. 450,000 (US$50)

For more information please contact” [Email] or telephone ++62-(0)361-8446341.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to All images and graphics are copyright protected.

Indonesia poised to become global home of batik

Batiklovers must not miss this upcoming event - a World Batik Summit to be held atthe Jakarta Convention Center, from September 28 to October 2, 2011.

To be organized by the Indonesian Batik Foundation (YBI) in cooperation withthe government, the Batik Summit will consist of two main events: the WorldBatik Exhibition (WBE) and the World Batik Conference (WBC).

The World Batik Summit (WBS) themed "Indonesia: Global Home of Batik"will be officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, according toOrganizing Committee Chairwoman of the World Batik Exhibition Murniati Widodoin Jakarta on Friday (Sept. 23).

The biennial World Batik Exhibition will have three themes, namely:"Multi-Partnership: Bringing Batik To The World", "Batik`sContribution to the Creative Economy", and "Batik as a CulturalHeritage: Conservation and Modernization".

"Up to now, 641 people from a number of countries have already registeredfor participation in the summit. It is double the figure last year,"Murniati said, adding that the number of participants might reach over 700.

The WBE is designed to become a promotion forum for batik producers,practitioners, craftsmen, and businessmen.

The organizing committee of the World Batik Summit (WBS) hopes to record Rp22billion worth of transactions during the five-day event.

"We hope to achieve an increase in the value of transactions compared totwo years ago when the figure was Rp18 billion,"

The conference will be highlighted with a cultural night and a fashion show tobe participated in by national and international batik designers.

Some master pieces of Indonesian designer Iwan Tirta will also be displayed inthe batik exhibition to remember the noted designer who died in July 2010.

A number of photos of foreign heads of state and government who are fond ofwearing batik, will be displayed in the exhibition. The works of junior highschool students participating in a batik design contest, will also beexhibited.

First Lady Ani Yudhoyono is expected to attend the peak activity of theNational Batik Day which will be organized at Pekalongan batik center inCentral Java, on October 3, 2011.

Batik is considered Indonesia`s most famous artistic and cultural legacy andhas developed a global reputation over centuries.

Since the inclusion of batik by UNESCO in "Intangible Cultural Heritage ofHumanity" items on September 30, 2009, the government has been activelypromoting batik domestically and internationally.

Because batik is now getting popular and on high demand, the government is mullinga master plan for the mass production of batik as a culture-based industry.

The master plan being prepared by the industry ministry, would be ready in thenext two months, Industry Minister MS Hidayat said at the presidential officerecently.

The value of Indonesia`s batik market reaches only Rp3 trillion currently. Andtherefore, the batik production must be directed toward mass products if thenation wanted to raise the batik market value, the minister said.

"Once it becomes mass products, the system of our industry will run well.Now, batik products are produced individually by batik industry handicraftcenters, which sometimes prioritize sense of art rather than the publictaste," he said.

The government will issue an appeal to government and private offices toinstruct their employees to wear batik dresses/shirts twice a week at least, inorder to support the planned batik mass production.

The government offices and a number of private offices have instructed theiremployees to wear batik at least once a week, namely on every Friday.

No batik industry in Indonesia has so far made mass productions althoughprominent batik companies such as Danarhadi and Batik Keris have exported theirbatik products to several countries in Asia.

Several regions such as Yogyakarta, West Java, Central Java, and East Java willbe prepared to support the planned batik mass productions.

According to data of the Indonesian Batik Foundation, the interest ofIndonesian people in batik has increased 40 percent since 2009.

"We got the data from the number of new batik producers and the batikconsumption throughout Indonesia," Doddy Soepardi, a member of thefoundation`s advisory board, said on Friday (Sept 23).

Indonesian batik is competitive and able to maintain its market share becauseof its high production standards.

"Indonesian batik has a specific character which does not exist in othertextiles with batik designs. It has its own philosophy, production process anddesigns," Indonesian Batik Foundation Chairperson Jultin GinandjarKartasasmita said.

Because of its high quality standards , Indonesian batik continues to be inhigh demand although its prices are higher than similar products from othercountries, she said.

"Domestic batik producers must not be worried because the governmentthrough the industry ministry has set certain standards for textiles to becalled batik, print textile is not genuine batik," she said.

The standards include a ruling that the batik production process should includethe use of "canting" or paintings and stamps, or a combination ofboth. Fully printed textile is not batik, she said.

The price of Indonesian batik is comparatively high because its basic materialis cotton that has to be imported.

So far Batik is mostly produced in Pekalongan, Solo (Central Java), Yogyakartaand Cirebon (West Java), but now batik production has developed in at least 23provinces of Indonesia.

Batik, which has been developed for centuries particularly on Java Island, iscloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. But,thanks to modern advances in the textile industry, the term has been extendedto include fabrics which incorporate traditional batik patterns.

UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization)describes Indonesian Batik as: The techniques, symbolism and culturesurrounding hand-dyed cotton and silk garments known as Indonesian Batikpermeate the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end: infants are carried inbatik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and thedead are shrouded in funerary batik.

The government has given a legal protection and identity through batik markcalled "Batik Indonesia" which has been registered at the legal andhuman rights ministry`s intellectual property rights directorate general, toget patent rights, according to Industry Minister Hidayat recently.

South Korean retailer Lotte Mart plans to introduce batik products to SouthKorean consumers.

Managing Director of Lotte Mart South East Asia Moon Young Pyo said that allLotte Mart employees would be requested to wear batik during the Indonesianbatik promotion in South Korea next November.

"So at the same time they will introduce batik," he said on thesidelines of a Business Forum on "Indonesian Product Exhibition for LotteMart Korea" held at the trade ministry.

Merchandising Director of Lotte Mart Korea Kim Young Gyoon said he would alsowear batik during the promotion in Seoul.

"I like batik because it`s comfortable, and has beautiful colors anddesigns. I think modern batik will sell well in Korea," Moon Young Pyokatasaid.

Solo keroncong Festival 2011

Thousandsof spectators crowded the Solo Keroncong Festival 2011 in Ngarsopuro, right infront of the Triwindu Market in Solo.
They were mesmerized as Endah Laras, a traditional singer from Solo, presented“Gemes” (Carried away), a song in the langgam or Javanese-style of keroncong,which is long known as Portuguese-tinged Indonesian music.

The song, written by Anjar Any and popularized in the 1970s by keroncongmaestro Waldjinah, was jovially and temptingly sung by Endah that evening,testimony to the fact that keroncong is not always slow and soothing music.

Endah was not alone in adding color to keroncong during the festival. Earlier,the Zakaria Keroncong Orchestra offered a humorous piece entitled “Pakne Thole”(Boy’s dad). Presented in a duet, the old Javanese song triggered roars oflaughter after being modified into an intensely expressive and almosttheatrical composition for the stage, leading to calls to repeat theperformance.

On the first day of the festival, Congrock from Semarang appeared with a blendof keroncong and rock music to suit the taste of the youth in the audience,making the show more attractive and less monotonous, while stirring the crowdsto dancing and shouting. The notion that keroncong is for retirees was alsodispelled as “Rumah Kita” (Our house), a song from the rock band Godbless,spurred people to sing along in the keroncong style and wave like rock musicfans do at concerts.

“Through such music, we’re trying to offer and introduce keroncong to theyounger generation. Keroncong will survive unless it’s monotonous, so thereshould be [new] creations. We can’t force today’s youth to enjoy keroncong inthe style of olden times,” said Marco Manardi, Congrock’s leader.

For two nights the public welcomed the Solo Keroncong Festival withoverwhelming enthusiasm. Many visitors were even prepared to sit in the road towatch the performances on two big screens set up on both sides of the stage.The throngs of onlookers in Ngarsopuro seemed untroubled by the suicide bombingthat had recently shocked the city.

Opened by former Transportation and Manpower Minister Erman Suparman, thesecond Solo Keroncong Festival had 18 keroncong groups from various regions asparticipants, including five foreign troupes from Italy, Hong Kong, Hungary,Malaysia and Singapore.

The event started with teenage keroncong musicians from the Putra Mawar TimurSolo Orchestra. Mostly junior high school students, they elegantly presented aninstrumental medley that displayed their musical skills. The famous keronconghits “Kota Solo” (Solo city), “Bengawan Solo” (Solo River) and “Tanah Air”(Motherland) marked the beginning of the international festival.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yogyakarta celebrates 255th anniversary in Javanese style

Excitementwas palpable across downtown Yogyakarta on Friday as people from all differentwalks of life took to the streets to celebrate the city's 255th anniversary.

Revelers ranged from city administration officials, teachers and students tocart drivers and parking attendants, all dressed in Javanese attire of batikcloth and kebaya blouses for women and of batik and surjan shirts for men.

"Happy anniversary," a teacher at a private junior high schoolgreeted a colleague while preparing to join a school ceremony to commemoratethe anniversary on Friday.

The date of the anniversary, publicly marked for the first time in 2004, wasdecided upon when the first ruler of Yogyakarta, Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, movedfrom Ambarketawang Palace to Yogyakarta Palace.

While municipal administration officials marked the anniversary at City Hall,teachers and students attended ceremonies in their respective schools. All wereheld in Javanese style and language.

"It's really fun to have the ceremony in Javanese. Even the state ideologyPancasila was read out in Javanese," said Salsabila, a seventh grader atSMPN 8 state junior high school after attending a ceremony at the school.

Friday's City Hall ceremony was also attended by 22 participants of the KonradAdenauer Stiftung's school for young politicians in Asia.

They came from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, thePhilippines, Singapore and Thailand.

They were visiting the city to learn more about the successes of the Yogyakartamunicipal administration, especially in development planning.

"Yogyakarta is considered the right place to learn more about localdevelopment planning. It has set a good example on that," a participant ofthe school, Megha Sarmah from Singapore, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Also held were a subdistrict festival involving all 45 subdistricts in themunicipality, panjat pinang (tree climbing contest) and a mosaic parade held inthe afternoon from Alun-Alun Utara Square to City Hall.

The peak of the celebration will be on the night of Oct. 22, with the JogjaJava Carnival, which will present street performances on mobile stagesinvolving all elements of communities and international participants.

Koreato host Korea-Indonesia cultural week in Jakarta

Relationsbetween two of Asia’s most dynamic countries – Indonesia and South Korea – havebeen growing at a rapid speed in recent years. But there is a new dimensionthat is making relations much stronger and long-lasting, says Korean Ambassadorto Indonesia Kim Young-sun.

What could be that particular dimension?
“Bali is a very popular holiday destination for young Korean couples. It’s aparadise for our honeymooners. As a result, thousands of Koreans are being madein Indonesia. This is making our relationship with Indonesia not only specialbut also long-lasting,” said Ambassador Kim jokingly.

Last year, 300,000 Koreans visited Indonesia, with more than 50 percent of themvisiting the Island of the Gods. With more than 50,000 Koreans in the country,it is the biggest expat community in Indonesia.

Kim wants to link the people of both countries not just economically andpolitically but also culturally.The Korean Embassy in Jakarta is organizing various events under the platformof “Korea-Indonesia Week” at Gandaria City mall in Jakarta from Sept. 28 toOct. 3, 2011. 
“The main purpose of this Korean cultural week is to introduce our culture toIndonesians. There is a growing interest among Indonesians to know more aboutKorea, its products, culture, especially the popular K-Pop,” Korean CulturalCenter’s director Kim Hyun-ki told The Jakarta Post.

The main highlights of the week, Kim Hyun-ki said, will be a concert of Hallyu(Korean Wave) singers, featuring heartthrobs like Lee Sun-ho (Shinhwa Group),Lee Jun-ki. Lee Dong-Geon, Choi Jin, Park Hyo-shin, Yu Seung Chan, CheongJae-il and others.Korean Wave’s energetic female percussion group Drum Cat will mesmerize fansfrom Jakarta with their energy, talent and beauty. For Indonesians, there willbe a K-Pop contest, with the winner being sent to Seoul to participate in theglobal contest.Besides music, Kim Hyun-ki said, there will be also a Korean food festival, taekwon do competition, painting exhibition, film festival and much more. Morethan 100 artistes from Korea will take part in the event.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

World Batik Exhibition

Theorganizing committee of the World Batik Summit (WBS) here hopes to record Rp22billion worth of transactions during the five-day event.

"We hope to achieve an increase in the value of transactions compared totwo years ago when the figure was Rp18 billion," Chairwoman of the WBS`sWorld Batik Exhibition (WBE) Murniati Widodo said here on Friday.

The World Batik Summit`s program will include a World Batik Exhibition wherebatik trade transactions are expected to take place.

"The number of participants is expected to be much higher than during aprevious exhibition, so the quantity of business transactions will alsoincrease significantly. Besides, the quality of batik products made inIndonesia and other countries has also improved," Murniati said.

The WBE will become a promotion forum for batik producers, practitioners,craftsmen, and businessmen.

The exhibition will have three themes, namely :"Multi-Partnership:Bringing Batik To The World", "Batik`s Contribution to the CreativeEconomy", and "Batik as a Cultural Heritage: Conservation andModernization".

"Up to now, 641 people from a number of countries have already registeredfor participation in the summit. It is double the figure last year," Murniatisaid.

She said the number of participants might reach over 700.

The World Batik Exhibition is a biennial event, while the first and only WorldBatik Conference was organized in 1997.

The Indonesian Batik Foundation in cooperation with the government willorganize the World Batik Summit which will consist of two main events, namelythe World Batik Exhibition (WBE) and the World Batik Conference (WBC) fromSeptember 28 to October 2, 2011.

The event themed "Indonesia Global Home of Batik" will be officiallyopened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Jakarta Convention Hall inJakarta