Yogyakarta-based experimental duo Senyawa held its much anticipated concert Tanah + Air at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (GKJ) at the end of December, mesmerising hundreds of fans, thanks to vocalist Rully Shabara’s intense voice and unique sounds produced by Wukir Suryadi’s self-made music instrument bambuwukir.
In Indonesian, tanah and air separately mean earth and water. But if you put those two words together, they form tanah air which means homeland – it was the first major performance by Senyawa in Indonesia. “This is our first big concert here although in December 2015 we actually played a [small] gig in my hometown Palu [in Central Sulawesi]. I was so happy to be back home in that moment,” Rully said during the concert. The two-hour event started in a dramatic way. For the first 30 minutes, Rully and Wukir were hidden behind a big white curtain, and the audience could only see their shadows projected on the curtain – a nod to Indonesia’s traditional shadow puppet wayang kulit show. By the time the curtain was raised, it revealed a plain stage setup with nothing but two microphones and a couple of stage lights on it. The audience, however, didn’t mind, since they could finally see Rully and Wukir in action. GKJ was unusually loud that night as the versatile Rully took the stage with his deep growls, high-pitch shrieks, melodic humming and soothing clear singing voice. Meanwhile, Wukir was busy plucking, fingerstyling and even using a violin bow to create more effects with his bambuwukir—an instrument made of bamboo with carefully attached guitar strings. Senyawa was founded in 2010 and has since released one EP, three full albums – Acaraki (2013), Menjadi (2014) and Puncak (2016) – one split album, and several collaboration albums with international artists. www.facebook.com/senyawamusik www.gproduction.co.id/senyawa