For most musicians, it takes years, if not decades, of training to master an instrument. For Rivelino, it has taken a mere three. The self-described part time musician and full-time accountant, who taught himself to play the Irish Uilleann Bagpipes, is all set to travel to the Emerald Isle this winter. While there, he set to train with the legendary Paddy Keenan, attend workshops and immerse himself in a completely Celtic environment.

Part time musician and full-time accountant Rivelino found his passion playing Irish intrument, Uilleann Bagpipes. Rivelino/NOW!JAKARTA

“I was not raised in a music family. My interest in music developed when I was in high school but it was only after I graduated college that I started playing an instrument – the accordion”, he says. He was 24 at the time, he tells me, and played mostly Spanish and Malay style music with some Celtic music thrown in

The Celtic influence clearly was strong, because in 2013 he met a Celtic band and joined them. Finding his niche, he played the accordion with the band for a year, until he discovered the Uilleann pipes. “We were playing in Bandung when I was first exposed to these pipes. Almost immediately, I fell in love, “ he said. “It felt out of this world,” he recalled. He returned home to Jakarta and found YouTube videos with clear instructions.

But first he needed a Uilleann set. 

Uilleann pipes are made especially for the person playing it. With pipe makers a rare breed these days, waiting for a pipe to be crafted can be a long, seven years. Fortunately for Rivelino, an Australian Uilleann pipe maker in Yogyakarta was able to put one together for him in six months. Armed with his training set, the young musician set to work, playing and often pausing instruction videos on YouTube for hours, indulging his love for the instrument. 

Almost two and a half years later, he has upgraded his instrument to a full one and is all set to head to Ireland thanks to sponsorship from the Embassy in Jakarta. 

Stints playing with the Craicatau group (a small majority-expat band who perform in the two Irish bars in Jakarta, Molly Malone’s and Murphy’s Irish pub) helped him develop his instrument skills (he plays the pipes while other members play the banjo and cello). The band blends Indonesian and western music but the Celtic essence remains with the pipes.  The group has performed at the Irish Embassy and also at the Irish National Day celebrations.

Irish Uilleann Bagpipes.

In 2017 Rivellino was approached by the Embassy who was on the lookout for a musician to do a workshop. The word of mouth publicity he received worked and in a matter of months he will travel to Ireland to meet with Paddy Keenan, and also perform with an Indonesian Gamelan troupe there. 

No mean feat for a novice musician. 

Following his return from Ireland, where is also set to meet with the head of the Dublin concert hall, he plans on giving workshops especially for young musicians.  “Don’t push yourself to learn the song but the technique. I found there are so many things I had to learn correctly.” he said. Sound advice indeed.


 This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine September 2018 issue “Music and Nightlife”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.

Ranjit Jose

Ranjit Jose

Ranjit is a previous Editor of NOW! Jakarta. A cultural journalist and anthropologist by training, he has reported on arts and culture for a variety of publications in the USA and Indonesia.