miércoles, 26 de noviembre de 2008


Sorry that this entry is a quickie one. Anyway, this is just to tell you that :

1. I am in Jakarta at the moment, although I will leave to Surabaya on the 28th, to be back in Jakarta beginning of December.

2. I have been very busy composing & recording for the film soundtrack "Romeo*Juliet" directed by Andibachtiar Yusuf. I will write about this further next week (unfortunately I have a habit of a presidential candidate : I don't keep up with my promises !)

3. Facebook : now, this is a problem. Since I have reached the limit of 5000 "friends", I cannot accept anymore friends, so I am VERY sorry. As you see, this is not my decision, but our big brother's, the facebook guys. But we have created the "Ananda Sukarlan's friends" group at facebook : you can search for it, and be a member. And yes, you STILL can send me messages through facebook ! But please do not suggest more friends for me ; you can, instead, invite all your friends to join the "Ananda Sukarlan's friends" group, once you become a member. Just click this : http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=41769011619 .

4. And I would like to confirm : YES, although it is still not finished, I am writing a new choral piece for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Institut Teknologi Bandung, one of the oldest and highly prestigious universities in Indonesia, celebrated in March next year. It is based on a new sonnet by Sapardi Djoko Damono, also commissioned by that mentioned choir.

viernes, 14 de noviembre de 2008

I, too, have a dream

Next week, a new CD of my works for voice(s) is gonna be released. I am so happy and honoured to have the soprano Bernadeta Astari "Deta" and the baritone Joseph Kristanto "Akis" record my vocal works. Apart from the fact that they are the two singers who have specialized in almost all my music involving the human voice and have worked with me intensely in performing them, they are magnificent musicians with impeccable techical abilities, sensitive artistry and profound musical understanding.

My interest in the human voice dated back in the 1980s when I heard Benjamin Britten's Serenade for tenor, horn and strings during my student years. That was the first vocal work that has made me weep, literally weep, during its performance. Since then, I started my collection of all Peter Pears' recording of Britten's whole ouvres, so my first vocal works were just bad copies of Britten and justly enough they all ended up in my dustbin. In the 1990s, it was the poetry of Walt Whitman, William Blake and Longfellow that have helped me find my own path. Still, I was feeling uneasy for not being able to feel at home in setting words of my own language. Ilham Malayu's poems during his stay in Bangkok prison were the first poems in Indonesian that I set to music, but it wasn't until very recently that I had a huge crush with the poetry of Sapardi Djoko Damono. And then came along other great Indonesian poets : Goenawan Mohamad, Eka Budianta, Hasan Aspahani, Nirwan Dewanto, Ook Nugroho and so on. Ah, and that fascinating miniaturist lady, Medy Loekito. And with my inspirational singer friends around, my Indonesian songs just came along and took shape naturally. I feel that my best music ("best" is according to my, and only mine, not other people's standard) are written inspired by people or their artistry.

I have a dream (this is not because of Obama reminding the famous phrase of MLK), that one day Indonesia will have virtuosi of all instruments, so that they would and could inspire me to write concertos for each of them : a violin concerto, clarinet concerto, up to ... bassoon concerto, harp concerto, tuba concerto and --why not?-- a percussion concerto. And yeah, my next Concerto for piano and orchestra should not be written for myself. There are many, many highly talented young Indonesian pianists around. They will prevail. And very soon.

sábado, 8 de noviembre de 2008

O BAMA, O Captain, My Captain

Many things have happened these last 2 weeks everywhere in the world, while I am just sitting around at home writing the music for the film "Romeo*Juliet" by Indonesian director Andibachtiar Yusuf.

Barack Obama became the 44th president of the USA. Now THIS is history. I won't comment anymore about it, we are all very happy not only because of that, but because the era of tyranny and stupidity of George Bush is gonna end soon. Please, Mr. Bush, just take a nice vacation during these 2 remaining months ! You don't have to make anymore decisions, nor do anything else. Just relax and enjoy your life ! That way you'll make this world a much better place, I tell you ! Jay Leno, David Letterman and all the American comedians have been very grateful to you for having provided them a wealth of materials for their shows these 8 years.

But around the same time, the Parliament in Indonesia passes the "Anti-Pornography" bill, which has almost nothing to do with anti-pornography. In fact the anti-pornography legislation could be easily misused against Indonesia's minority Christian and Hindu communities and threatens the country's pluralistic culture. And it will crush our economy (which has been mostly destroyed by corruption) that depends a lot from tourism. Not only that, it will eliminate the rich culture of Indonesia, since all the performing arts would be categorized pornographic. I "almost" don't mind if Verdi's Aida, Thomas Mann's Death in Venice or Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes were banned for being "pornographic" in Indonesia ; they have the rest of the world to keep existing, but to wipe out traditional dances, centuries-old sculptures, masterpieces of Indonesian painters ?

I wish George W. would become president in Indonesia. He wouldn't like to make constitutions such as the Pornography Bill. He would just invade other countries, worsen our economy (won't be much damage, though ; we always have deficits and no surplus), and enlighten our days with phrases like " I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully" or "Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."

A small step (forward) for mankind, a big step for the United States, and an enormous leap of setback for my dear country ...