Jogjakarta’s Senyawa uniquely manage to embody the aural flavours of Javanese music whilst exploring the framework of experimental music practice, pushing the boundaries of both traditions. In doing so their music strikes a perfect balance between their avant-garde influences and cultural heritage to create truly contemporary Indonesian music.
Their sound is comprised of Rully Shabara’s deft extended vocal techniques punctuating the frenetic neo-tribalism of instrument builder, Wukir Suryadi’s modern-primitive instrumentation. Inventions like his handcrafted ‘Bamboo Spear’; a thick stem of bamboo strung up with percussive strips of the plant’s skin along side steel strings. Amplified it fuses elements of traditional Indonesian instrumentation with garage guitar distortion. Sonically dynamic, the instrument can be rhythmically percussive on one side whilst being melodically bowed and plucked on the other.
As a duo they have been performing and playing together extensively for the last 3 years and have toured Indonesia several times over. In 2011 they were invited to perform internationally for the first time at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival sharing the stage with many great musicians such as Faust, Yoshida Tatsuya, Tony Conrad and Charlemagne Palestine.
Since then they have gone onto perform at MONA FOMA Festival in Tasmania, the Adelaide Festival with Korean singer Bae Il Dong, toured as special guests of Australian supergroup Regurgitator, performed at the Glatt und Verkert Festival in Austria along side Japanese guitar master Kazuhisa Uchihashi, as well as the Malmo Sommarscen Festival in Sweden, Salihara Literature Festival in Jakarta, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Clandestino Festival in Norway and Oct Loft Jazz Festival in China. Senyawa was awarded a 1 month residency at AIR Krems as part of the Krems city wide festival in Austria where they were the star guests of the city.
Wukir as a solo performer held a residency at the world famous STEIM in Amsterdam and also performed at the STEIM Festival. Rully Herman was for many years lead singer of legendary experimental Indonesian band ZOO and has also published two books of his written works.
In the past they have collaborated with many notable musicians such Lucas Abela, Yasuke Akai, Jon Sass, Damo Suzuki, Jerome Cooper, David Shea and Kazu Ushihashi. In 2012 they completed a film in collaboration with French filmmaker Vincent Moon.