Collections of themed recordings curated by John Noise Manis

ENDAH LARAS and Dedek Gamelan Orchestra
A sensation between traditional and modern Java

 

Notes written by John Noise Manis in collaboration with
Pak Dedek Wahyudi, Endah Laras, and Danis Sugiyanto.

 

Track 1 – Gandrung Temenan (solo) – 2:36

This song was created by Endah Laras. The melody draws inspiration from the Banyuwangen song style, the lyrics are in Javanese. Lyrics and title tell about the pains of passionate love.

eman…eman…eman…
duh wong bagus… duh wong bagus… wong bagus isun kedani
esuk awan sore wengi tansah kelingan
esemane… esemane… esemane… esemane… lirikane gawe atiku deg-degan
apa iki… apa iki… sing jenenge… sing jenenge… lagi kasmaran
saben saben… mung tansah dadi pikiran
gandrung-gandrung… gandrung marang riko
ati bingung gek tambane apa
gandrung-gandrung… gandrung marang riko
apa ra krasa atiku mung marang riko
mangan tahu yo mas yo… jok dicampur duku
kangen rindu… kangen rindu… tambane kudu ketemu
tambane kudu ketemu…

 

True Passion

Pity, pity, pity
Oh you beautiful, you beautiful, beautiful you, I’m bewildered by my emotions
Morning, day, evening, night always remembering
Your smile, your smile, your smile, your smile, your glances make my heart startle
What is this, what is this, what’s its name? it’s being in love
All the time I just have a constant thought
Passionately in love, I’m in love with you
My heart is confused. Is there  any remedy?
Feed me with tofu, oh yes, but don’t mix it with duku
I miss you,
A medicine, I crave to meet you

 

Track 2 – Umbul-Umbul Blambangan  – 2:19

This piece is a kind of bawa Banyuwangen. Bawa is a term normally used in Javanese karawitan. It is performed by a vocalist as an introduction in order to embellish a gendhing. In this composition, the bawa Banyuwangen is not used as an introduction to a gendhing, but rather to demonstrate that it can be a stand-alone piece. The bawa Banyuwangen, like bawa in karawitan, tends to be refined, smooth. In this bawa, composed by Bs Nurdian/Dadang Cy, the garap consists of adding accents to the balungan instruments.

membyat mayun eman
suarane gendhing belambangan
nyerambahi nuswantara
banyuwangi kulon gunung wetan segara
lor lan kidul alas angker kang keliwat-liwat
belambangan belambangan
aja takon susah seneng kang disangga
tanah endah gumelaring gumelaring
taman sari nuswantara

 

Blambangan Pennants

Going up to the sky
The sound of a Blambangan gendhing
Spreads all over the islands
In Banyuwangi, westwards are mountains, eastwards the ocean,
North and south there are haunted forests
Belambangan belambangan
Don’t ask anyone about happiness and sadness
The beautiful country reveals itself
A garden Indonesia

 

Track 3 – Gelang Alit – 5:26

The authors of this song are Fatrah Abal and Mahfud Hariyanto from Banyuwangi. This piece has already been arranged in many ways using different Javanese musical traditions. In this re-elaboration a version in the Javanese gamelan style has been expressly chosen, keeping however the Banyuwangi style as the founding idea for its garap. One distinctive feature which is not of the Banyuwangi style is the garap in singing which is without ornamentation and loud, “not soft”. The patterns that are played interlocking saron and kinthilan,are also played by kendhang, which uses sekaran patterns that are followed by the bonang accents (“sekaran”- technique which transforms the kendhang patterns of Sundanese style into the orchestration of a composition).

wus kelakon semene lawase isun ya riko kedani
semana sun imbangi mula riko kudangane ati
segara ya ana pesisire sun welas ana watese
wedang kopi balung nangka
rina wengi sun mung katon riko
ya wis kelendi maning saiki sewang-sewangan
kepingin kumpul maning nanging ra ana dalane eman
mendahne ya ya seneng e ati ketemu ring dina mburi
gelang alit ring driji aja lali tumekaning pati

 

A Ring

It happened long ago, you and I were deeply in love
At the beginning I was so important for you that you promised me your heart
The sea has a shore, I, poor one, also have limits
Coffe and jackfruit bones
Day and night you appear to me
How can it be that we look again at each other’s eyes
I wish we were together again, but there is no way
Oh how happy would be my heart if we could be together for one last day
Ring on my finger, don’t forget until I die.

 

Track 4 – Entog Mulang – 3:25

This is a folksong in Sundanese music style. It features the accompaniment of a Sundanese rebab.

kajeun balik ngaligincing suka mulang    da ngalongkewang
abdimah anteurkeun bae    anteurkeun ka nagarana nagara anu baheula
nagara   anu baheula   alah…alah…alah….. jangkung
najan kahalangan gunung    geuranya emang….emang…emang…..emang….
eey…eey…ey…ey…ey…ey…ey…ey…ey…ey…ey…ey
toyod tongkrong los kakolong kojengkang ngajingjing hayam
kaditu agan    kadieu agan    bet asa kabina-bina
mana abong-abong teuing   mana nyeri-nyeri teuing
entog abdi   dapangmulangkeun   entog abdipangmulangkeun
dapangmulangkeun

 

Track 5 – Bawa Cahya Sumirat – 2:44

This is an arrangement of a traditional Sundanese bawa with the same title. In this orchestration, a Javanese gender is added.

paingan atuh paingan teu tebih ti sangka ati
gusti kagungan panyawat panyawat nu langkung lantip
teu kaop lepat saeutik gusti babarian bendu
sarupi mundut lantaran hoyong pisah sareng abdi
mun kitu mah gusti the ngaraos hina

 

Track 6 – Bajing Luncat – 6:40

Bajing Luncat is a song from West Java, which is popular in the whole island of Java. Even in isolated communities people share some kind of garap of Bajing Luncat. Here the arrangement uses  a garap for the melody of the song based on playing the accents and patterns of ‘sekaran’ on a Sundanese kendhang. Such kendhang patterns are used as a medium to convey melody to the balungan instruments.

bajing luncat  bajing luncat kaastana ieung
abdi lepat  narosan teu ti anggalna
bajing luncat  bajing luncat kaastana ieung
abdi lepat  narosan teu ti anggalna
ku teu sangka  salira bet luas pisan
teu hawatos  kanu kesel ngantos ngantos
api api  teu emut kana pasini pasini
pakait ati  aduh  pakait ati

 

Track 7 – Macapat Dhandhangula slendro – 2:59

This macapat is taken from Wulangreh (part I), written by Sri Sunan Paku Buwana IV.

pamedhare wasitaning ati
cumanthaka haniru pujangga
dahat mudha ing batine
nanging kedah ginunggung
datan wruh yen akeh ngesemi
ameksa angrumpaka
basa kang kalantur
tutur kang katula-tula
tinalaten rinuruh kalawan ririh
mrih padhang ing sasmita

Pronouncing wisdom
I [the author] dare to pretend to be a poet
My inner self is young.
But I wish to reveal my thought
I don’t know if many people will deride [my work].
I forced myself to write a poem
In copious language my pronouncement is winding around.
Patiently and carefully I proceed
To reveal my inner message clearly.

 

Track 8 – Macapat Sinom slendro – 2:57

The text of this popular macapat, Sinom Rujak Jeruk, is by Ki Nartosabdo.

angadhang neng tengah lawang
rajang rajang iris iris
kawula reracik rujak
tan kendhat tansah cecawis
mugi dadiya jampi
rujake kinecer jeruk
neng layah lambah lambah
gula jawa lombok trasi
nora suwe bapakne thole wus teka

At the centre of the door
Food cut and sliced
And servants preparing a small fruit salad
Without interruption constantly supplied
May it happen that it becomes a medicine
Lemon juice will be squeezed over the salad
In the mortar forming poodles
Java sugar, chili pepper, shrimp paste
Father of my son will soon be coming

 

Track 9 – Ilir-Ilir – 5:11

The text of this composition has been inspired by teachings about life written by Sunan Kalijaga, one of the masters and founders of spiritual Islam in Java. The music, written by Dedek Wayudi  in the form of a gamelan composition, is played by a pelog Javanese gamelan plus Sundanese drums and violin (‘biola’). The garap patterns derive from techniques of Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese gamelan, developed in the style of the Balinese cencandhetan, after having combined them with Javanese imbal.

ilir ilir tandure wus sumilir
ijo royo royo tak sengguh temanten anyar
bocah angon penekna blimbing kuwi
lunyu-lunyu penekna kanggo mbasuh dhodhot ira
dhodhot ira kumitir bedhah ing pinggir
damana jlumatana kanggo seba mengko sore
mumpung gede rembulane mumpung jembar kalangane
yo surak a surak hi yo

 

Ilir-Ilir

Bright green bamboo flags blowing in the field
Planted by a newly-wed couple.
Please herdsboy climb on that blimbing tree
It’s very slippery but he climbs to wash your dodot
The dodot flutters and rips on the side
Carefully mended with fine stitches to wander around before dark
Take advantage of the full moon, take advantage while the opportunity is there
Let’s cheer hurrah

 

Track 10 – Kroncong Moritsko – 4:10

This song is an ancient heritage from the descendants of the Portuguese who lived in the village of Tugu (Jakarta). Several written sources about the history of kroncong music say that this singing style was influenced by the Mores of Northern Africa. The structure of Kroncong Moritsko respects the form of  “authentic kroncong”. Up to now, in fact, this stucture has been preserved by the performers of Indonesian kroncong.

Jikalau tuan…..mendengarkan ini…..
Haraplah supaya….senang…senang di hati
Hhhoooooo…..hooooiiiii……memetik gitar
Sambil bernyanyi….membikin pendengar….gembira dihati…..
Hoooo hooooi……
Kroncong moristko aku dendangkan….aduh sayang..
Agar hati rindu….menjadilah senang….

If you listen to this song, sir
Hope that your heart will be happy
Hooo, hooo, playing the guitar
And singing makes people understand that your heart is cheerful
Hoo, hoo
I sing Kroncong Moritzko, oh dear
So that my homesick heart becomes happy

 

Track 11 – Kroncong Kemayoran – 2:48

Before the ‘20s of last century, the territory of Betawi (Kemayoran, Jakarta) was still pervaded by the ‘premanisme’. A single person was thought to be a ‘champion’ not only when he was good in fist-fights but also when he showed his cleverness in singing poems in ‘pantun’ verses. (Pantun is traditional poetry, each verse of which is a quatrain divided into two couplets which contain questions and answers. It is sung in contests where two or more persons sing a quatrain in turns.)

People sing kroncong Kemayoran because this melody is adapted to as many repertoires of pantun poems as the singer knows. Furthermore, the more various are the kinds of pantun the more intensely people sing (which is possible also for a ‘preman’). Usually the pantun lyrics contain a sampiran (first couplet) and an isi (second couplet). The sampiran describes a natural ambience or phenomenon, while isi, the explanation part, replies in a humorous way or with sweet talk of love. A Kemayoran song can last a long time because it offers the technique of singing by turns.

Track 12 – Lindri (medley) – 8:40

Starting from the idea of gathering some of the dolanan (songs for children) still existing in Central Java, some of them have been assembled by Dedek Wayudi in a piece with a new kind of garap.

The dolanan are: Lindri. Jamuran, Cempa plus macapat Maskumambang. In this piece there are two different kinds of garap. One part of the composition has the jineman traditional form which still conforms with the rules of Javanese tradition, while the other part of the composition adopts the garap patterns of Balinese kothekan.

The instruments used are the ones of the slendro Javanese gamelan. The garap technique mixes Java, Sunda and Bali styles.

Track 13 – Isih Tresno (solo) – 3:31

Lyrics and melody by Endah Laras. The idea of this song comes from the musical style of the pasisir Tegal – a coastal area in the northern part of Java. The pasisir style, compared to the Central Java palaces styles, is characterized by higher tones and more dynamic rhythms.

 

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Endah Laras was born in Solo on August 3, 1976. Daughter of a dhalang, her talent manifested itself since very young. After winning a dance competition in 1988 in Solo, she became interested in the arts, especially singing and dancing. Grew up in Jakarta. Won a number of prizes in singing competitions (1992-1994). In 1996 started her professional career as a singer. She worked in projects of a number of Indonesian composers and recorded several commercial music albums up until 2008. She participated as singer in many creative works of puppeteers and dance choreographers. In 2009 was on tour in Europe in the wayang kulit show ‘Dewa Ruci’ led by the unorthodox dhalang Ki Enthus Susmono (with Dedek Gamelan Orchestra). In 2010 was in Europe again in the rendition for the theatre of Garin Nugroho’s film ‘Opera Jawa’ with music by Rahayu Supanggah, premiered at the International Gamelan Festival Amsterdam. It was while attending a rehearsal of this work in Solo that the producer of the present CD was struck by the outstanding richness and capabilities of Endah’s multicoloured voice.

Dedek Wahyudi was born in Klaten on June 1, 1960. He studied gamelan music at SMKI and STSI Surakarta. He has a vast experience as composer – for over 20 years has been active in composing both traditional and contemporary music. His compositional style is characterized by consistency in the creative process and language (which also means that it can be easily recognized). In 1994 was guest composer with the Gamelan Pacifica Group in Seattle, USA. In 1997 was invited by the South Bank Gamelan Players in London. He has done many collaborations in cross-cultural contexts. Has collaborated with Evelyn Glennie of England and with Ong Keng Sen (Singapore). Has created stage works for various festivals in USA (1993, 1995), Jakarta (1993, 1995), Korea (1995), England (1997). His particular expertise in music for dance and theatre has attracted choreographers like Sardono W Kusumo, Slamet Gundono, Mugiyono Kasido, Dedy Lutan, Sulistyo Tirto Kusumo, with whom there has been artistic collaboration. He is the composer for the theatre of Kisah Perjuangan Suku Naga directed by W.S. Rendra, as well as for the works of Gapit Theatre Surakarta.

 

TRACKS

1 – Gandrung Temenan (solo) – 2:36
2 – Umbul-Umbul Blambangan – 2:19
3 – Gelang Alit – 5:26
4 – Entog Mulang – 3:25
5 – Bawa Cahya Sumirat – 2:44
6 – Bajing Luncat – 6:40
7 – Macapat Dhandhangula slendro – 2:59
8 – Macapat Sinom slendro – 2:57
9 – Ilir-Ilir – 5:11
10 – Kroncong Moritsko – 4:10
11 – Kroncong Kemayoran – 2:48
12 – Lindri (medley) – 8:40
13 – Isih Tresno (solo) – 3:31

Endah Laras – the voice in all tracks
Dedek Gamelan Orchestra – Dedek Wahyudi, director

Players:

Ajus Sunda (guest musician, drums)
Danis Sugiyanto (also violin in tracks 2, 3, 6, 9, and ukulele in tracks 10, 11)
Lumbini
Sunardi
Agus Prasetyo
Jungkung

Recordings made in Solo, July 2010, by Iwan Onone and John Noise Manis
Mastering and photos by John Noise Manis

 

Yantra Productions
www.gamelan.to