Collections of themed recordings curated by John Noise Manis


The programme of this CD is centered on Gendhing Kutut Manggung, one of the best known and loved large compositions in the classical repertoire of Central Javanese gamelan music. For the rendition here presented I asked Bapak Suraji, one of the finest musicians and rebab players of Surakarta, to revise and enlarge the gendhing so as to accommodate various gamelan styles of Java. I also suggested that four pesindhen (female vocalists) be employed with individual parts (‘concertante’ would be the corresponding Western musical term). Pak Raji generously agreed and accomplished a great feat with this over 40-minute long rendition.
The rest of the programme includes Ladrang Siyem, with the national anthem of Siam incorporated, and Ladrang Semang, adding the flavour of the sacred Bedhaya dances.
Here we have a description of the programme pieces by Pak Suraji.

John Noise Manis



Ladrang Siyem laras slendro pathet nem was composed during the reign of Paku Buwana X, by Kanjeng Wiryadiningrat, Raden Ngabehi Atmamardawa, Raden Ngabehi Wirapradangga, and Mas Lurah Reksapangrawit (Mlayareksasa). This gendhing was composed to commemorate a royal visit by King Yadipa Sukadaya VII and his queen from Siam on 3-4 September, 1934. It is said that this ladrang was inspired by the melody of the Siamese national anthem. Today ladrang Siyem is still popular among the Javanese karawitan community in Surakarta.

Suraji Sumarto

Note – Andy McGraw observes that the Thai royal anthem is transformed
and distorted by the ladrang structure into a form which is unrecognizable
by most Thai musicians.



 Semang exists in three different forms of gendhing, namely:

  • gendhing kethuk 8 kerep minggah 16 laras pelog pathet nem (Paku Buwana IV),
  • gendhing bedhayan (Bedhaya Semang) which has now become a sacred dance at the Kraton Kasultanan Yogyakarta, where it is performed once a year for the anniversary of the King’s coronation,
  • ladrang Semang laras pelog pathet nem.

Ladrang Semang was used as gendhing beksan ‘Jemparing alit’ at the Kraton Kasunanan Surakarta during the time of Paku Buwana IV and as part of the sequence of gendhing used to accompany Srimpen ‘Bondhan Kinanthi’ during the time of Paku Buwana VIII. In a performance of gendhing srimpen ‘Bondhan Kinanthi’, the tambur, or drum, is used during the fast section of ladrang Semang.
For the present recording, I attempted to reconstruct ladrang Semang as gendhing beksan dhadhap alit, using a gerongan text taken from the episode Salya Gugur in the story of Baratayuda. I imagined that beksan dhadhap alit portrayed the battle between Prabu Salya and Prabu Puntadewa, which was won by the latter.

Suraji Sumarto



A kutut is a kind of bird (turtledove) which makes a pleasant sound and is believed to have a good aura. Some people keep the bird as a pet simply for their own pleasure. When the turtledove sings, Javanese people say that the bird (kutut) “is performing” (manggung). Hence the expression ‘kutut manggung’ has become part of the day-to-day language.

Gendhing Kutut Manggung was composed during the reign of Paku Buwana II  (Wedhapradangga II, p.53). During the reign of Paku Buwana VI, another version of Kutut Manggung appeared in the form of a ‘gendhing terbang’ (Wedhapradangga III, p.115).  There are two forms of Kutut Manggung, namely ‘gendhing kethuk 2 kerep minggah 4’ and ‘ladrangan’. The former is found in the form of a ‘gendhing bonang’ (Semarangan) laras pelog pathet lima. When played as a concert piece, gendhing Kutut Manggung is usually performed in the format ‘merong kethuk 2 kerep minggah ladrangan’, or as a ladrangan which is not preceded by a merong.

Following a request of John Noise Manis, I have attempted to present gendhing Kutut Manggung in a variety of new interpretations with a number of different Javanese regional influences.
The first section begins with ‘garap jineman’, where the jineman is a reinterpretation of the ladrangan melody in irama wilet, and the text is taken from lancaran Manuk.
The second section uses ‘garap bonangan semarangan’ (Semarang is a large city on the north cost of Java) which then continues with ‘garap inggah kosek alus irama wilet’ and has four pesindhen perform three different parts (one part performed by two pesindhen). The text used in this section describes the atmosphere of a forest where different kinds of birds are singing.
The third is an instrumental section in laras pelog pathet nem (nyamat). It uses a new kind of treatment that has never previously been recorded or performed live.
The forth section is in ‘Banyumas kethoprakan style’, presenting one main vocalist who is accompanied by senggakan, and also in the style badhutan/tayuban (a comic rendition which is usually used for accompanying tayub in rural areas). My intention was to present a new or different interpretation of Kutut Manggung which is not usually performed by the karawitan community but in which there is still a nuance of the original gendhing.  The text used in this kethoprak version is taken from an andhegan selingan text. The use of a wangsalan text and senggakan is in line with the usual Banyumas style of performance.
The fifth section is in laras pelog pathet barang and begins with palaran, using a text and melody taken from an andhegan selingan which is usually performed in pelog barang. After the palaran the music continues with a ladrang performed in irama wilet in ‘Nartosabdan style’. The gendhing ends with inggah kethut 4 pelog pathet lima, which then changes to laras pelog pathet barang and continues in bonangan semarangan style.

Suraji Sumarto


collected in post-production by John Noise Manis

For better following and enjoying the long and multifarious Gendhing Kutut Manggung as revised by Pak Suraji, it should result useful for the reader/listener to have an outline of the sections with the corresponding timings:

00:00 – Buka (opening section) pathetan
01:04 – Jineman (Heni Savitri)
02:39 – Merong bonangan Semarangan style
03:46 – Ladrangan Solonese style (four pesindhen ‘in concertante’)
06:17 – Ladrangan garap rangkep (Sri Suparsih, Rini Rahayu, Heni Savitri, in succession)
10:21 – Andhegan (Yayuk Sri Rahayu)
14:59 – change of laras – from pelog nem to slendro manyura
15:18 – Ladrang garap Kethoprakan (Darsono and pesindhen)
18:00 – Ladrangan Banyumasan style (pesindhen and gerong)
25:07 – Ladrangan Sragenan style (Yayuk Sri Rahayu)
27:13 – change of laras – from slendro manyura to pelog barang
27:20 – Palaran (Sri Suparsih)
29:22 – Ladrangan Nartosabdan style (four pesindhen in unison)
31:27 – Ketawangan (Sri Suparsih)
35:50 – Inggah bonangan Semarangan style


Some comments on this performance of Kutut Manggung by three of the pesindhen:

Rini Rahayu

“As a whole, a very good performance. In the calung part the pesindhen were not enough into the Banyumasan style, because of the pronunciation and the character needed to be further pushed up. In the Sragenan section the pesindhen may have not prepared very well; in fact there were some misinterpretations on the wiled”


Sri Suparsih

“This performance gave me an experience about the development of treatment concerning change in laras, pathet, irama, and vocal interpretation. The novelties showed the creativity of the composer/arranger.  I think it was a good experience in enhancing the beauty of Javanese music. The Ketawang part, in particular, I felt was very enjoyable, especially from the point of view of the text which was an adaptation from another piece. The result was pleasant in terms of the laras used and there was a sad feeling in the text and melodic line. I felt that the one andhegan assigned to me – in palaran style instead of the usual free tempo – was a bit restrictive, because the pesindhen had to adapt to the tempo that had been set. Ordinarily Kutut Manggung is performed in pelog barang or slendro manyura, so if performed in pelog nem it does not feel quite right. The Ketawang part is in the right mood, pelog barang, and it matches well with the pesindhen’s voice.”


Yayuk Sri Rahayu

“This was my first experience singing Kutut Manggung in pelog nem – in particular the andhegan. Usually this is performed in slendro manyura, which is known as ‘garap Condrolukitan’. In the Sragenan part, I was rather satisfied, although at the time of the recording session I did not have enough preparation. Overall, I was very happy in this experience with the peculiar ideas that had been proposed by John Noise Manis and realized in the creation by Pak Suraji.


The texts for Kutut Manggung, excluding wangsalan (non-specific rhymes chosen at will by the pesindhen), are:

  • Jineman, Kinanthi verse, Heni Savitri plus three pesindhen (01:04):

    Lha kaé Kututé Manggung, hur ketekung kung,

    manuk Engkuk angrujuki, kuk engkuk-an,
    Derkuku karya senggak-an, kuk geruk kok,
    manuk Thilang milang miling,
    Jalak jalu njola njola, anjelalat mulat Emprit
  • Ladrang, Inggah, four pesindhen (03:46):

    Nèng tengah ing wana kukila ramé ocèhé,

    Kutut Jalak jamang Derkuku lan Podhang,
    Kuntulé nglayang agirang girang,
    Kutut manggung Podhang nembang sesenggak-an sauran
    gendhilu, cucuwit, hur ketekung,
    bisa gawé gembirané kang lagi susah atiné
  • Ladrang, garap rangkep, Sri Suparsih, Rini Rahayu (06:17):Ombenana, atak omben ombenana,  é  manuké kutut atak omben ombenana, sethitihik banyuné tawa
    pakan nana, atak pakan nana, é  Kututé kuwi atak pakan pakanana,
    sethithik pariné cempa
  • Andhegan, Yayuk Sri Rahayu (10:21):Wayahé wus lingsir wengi, Prekututé arsa muni,
    ing plangkringan, anggungnya memanas ati, hur ketekung kung, kung, hur ketekung kung, mangga mangga, pinarak ingkang sekéca.
    pra mitra kang minulya,
    sugeng rawuhipun mas,
    awan awan yo la bapak Kutut manggung njaluk pakan
  • Ladrang, garap Kethoprakan, Darsono (15:18):Mangumiyat maring sato,
    ingkang tansah gandrung gandrung,
    payo yayi, lelangen maring talaga,
    amet kembang, kembang kang nuksma mring warih,
    tanpa rowang yun mirah langen asmara
  • Calung Banyumasan, Kinanthi, verse 1 (same as Jineman) four pesindhen at 18:00 and 18:58, verse 2 Sri Suparsih at 21:03:1) Lha kaé Kututé Manggung,
    manuk Engkuk angrujuki,
    Derkuku karya senggak-an,
    manuk Thilang milang miling,
    Jalak jalu njola njola,
    anjelalat mulat Emprit2) Nalikanira ing dalu,
    wong agung mangsah semedi,
    sirep kang bala Wanara,
    sadaya wus sami guling,
    nadyan ari Sudarsana,
    wus dangu nggenira guling
  • Palaran, Sri Suparsih (27:20):Tumlawung, gumreget lamun ketemu
    mring handika wong bagus si Pranacitra,
    apan nyata rina wengi datan néndra,
    bapakné tholé prekututé njaluk ngombé
  • Ladrangan, four pesindhen (29:34):Wanciné surya rumangsang Ki Sabdo munggwing balé,
    satata ayem tentrem nilingaké Kutut manggung,
    anggungé aneng nggegantang andudut tansah mathuk,
    Ki Sabdo manthuk manthuk nilingaké Kutut manggung,
    sumilir baraté anganyer anggungé tansah gawé trenyuh,
    Prekututé manggung kung kung hur ketekung,
    Ki Sabdo manekung, amalatkung nilingaké Kutut manggung
  • Ketawang, Kinanthi, Sri Suparsih (32.03):Ing wana gung liwang liwung,
    pasang pikat mburu peksi,
    ri iki mugya kepikat,
    iba senengé wak mami,
    peksi Kutut sampun ngidham,
    lairé sang jabang bayi

The text for Ladrang Semang:

Andhé, babo, Adan pasang, Karna  musthi kang sanjata
Andhé, babo, metu mutab, kinebul naraca bala
Andhé, babo, kumareteg, kumerut ing si ning  Jagad
Andhé, babo, amarnani garudha myang naga



1 –   8:48   Ladrang SIYEM slendro nem
2 –   9:48   Ladrang SEMANG pelog nem  (reconstruction: Suraji)
3 – 41:00   Ragam Garap Gendhing KUTUT MANGGUNG  pelog nem, slendro manyura, pelog barang (revision/rendition: Suraji)



Sindhen Yayuk Sri Rahayu
Sri Suparsi
Rini Rahayu
Heni Savitri
Gerong Darsono
Sri Joko Raharjo
Gender Pan.
Bonang Pan.
Saron I
Saron II
Saron Pan.
Bambang Sasadara
Joko Daryanto
Joko Purwanto
Nyoman Sukerna
Hadi Boediono
Danis Sugiyanto
Slamet Riyadi
Al Suwardi

Recorded at ISI Surakarta, 27 June, 2010
Recording Engineer: Iwan Onone
Musical Design, Mastering, and Photos: John Noise Manis

YANTRA – Production and Digital Release