Sunday, December 14, 2008

Samba Sunda@BBJ

It was because a visit to Bentara Budaya website I knew that there was a music peformance by a group named Sambasunda at Bentara Budaya Jakarta on Thursday evening, December 11, 2008. It's been a while since I saw KunoKini and hence I decided to go there to see the Sambasunda performance and to educate me about the group that I just knew that day.

I sent text message to mas Efix Mulyadi just to make sure that the performance was still on, and the answer was a yes, with a request to pray so that no hard rain would fall on Jakarta's sky to ruin the show.

Traffic was normal, it means bad, and my pilot said we couldn’t take the shorter route through pasar Slipi, so we took the longer one and made u-turn at Permata Hijau. We arrived at BBJ around 20 minutes past seven. Final check sound was just done, and the performance started at about 7.30 p.m.


It was a big group. There were at least 14 people on the stage, 15 in total with the female singer, Rita Tila. Among the instruments used were Kendang (Sundanese-style wood drum, similar to that of the Javanese and Balinese), jembe, bambu organ similar to kolintang, violin, kecrek, suling bambu flute, timbales (shallow single-headed drums), guitar and electric bass.

They opened the show with an instrumental composition that showed the unique musical colors of the group, ethnics with modern flavor and vigor.


After a few songs, Rita Tila, with a typical beauty of a Sundanese girl, appeared on the stage, smiled broadly and greeted the audience. Her flawless typical Sundanese high pitched voice brought the strong Priangan atmosphere on the stage. She moved gently and gracefully in a jaipong type of a West Javanese charming dance.



Ismet Ruchimat, the founder and leader of the group as well as the talented composer and a multi-instrumentalist, is shown playing the electric bass and was the group speaker to fill in the space between songs with typical Sundanese humorous remarks that lightened the atmosphere.





The group played a lively and highly energetic music composition demonstrated the vigor and joy of rampak kendang, the power of timbales, conga, jembe, and others.







Ismet Ruchimat Maulana started his career in 1989 in Gugum Gumbira's Jugala Orchestra. Ismet appeared on a number of international recording projects such as with Spanish percussionist Vidal Paz in Sunda-Africa, with Indian flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia in Moon Magic, with the Madagascan group Tarika in Soul Makassar, and with Sabah Habas Mustapha & the Jugala Allstars in Jalan Kopo and So La Li.


Sambasunda is based in Bandung, a beautiful city with a cool climate surrounded by mountains and hills. Their international appearance in various occassions seems were all very successful ones. The group has performed in a couple of cities in Europe, UK, USA, Taiwan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand. They have released 10 or so albums since 1998.

Thanks to Bentara Budaya Jakarta's management for making it happened.