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SambaSunda

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In a fast-changing Indonesia a new generation of musicians are taking on the task of redefining their rich musical heritage for the new millennium. 17-piece(!) ensemble SambaSunda bring together a dazzling array of instruments and influences to create a new style Gamelan orchestra and the most exciting musical voice out of the archipelago today.

Led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Ismet Ruchimat, who started his career in 1989 in Gugum Gumbira’s famous Jugala Orchestra, and bred on the creative grounds of Bandung’s prominent STSI arts college, SambaSunda have more than seven local releases to their credit. Already a local phenomenon, this best-kept Indonesian secret is now ready burst into the international scene, with a sparkling international CD release.

SambaSunda come from Bandung, the bustling capital and cultural centre of Western Java, more commonly known as Sunda. The Sundanese are the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia with a unique language and culture.

The group updates the lilting sounds of Sundanese gamelan degung and the angklung bamboo instruments by adding elements of Jakarta’s kroncong, Sunda’s jaipong, Balinese kebyar and the Brazilian rhythm of samba. The classic sounds of the traditional instruments evoke not only past splendour but also the bustling, urban energy of Bandung today: A full sound palette from the deep resonance of the mighty gongs to the silvery eloquence of the suling bamboo flute, complete with a heavyweight percussion section, wild vocal chanting known as senggak and the truly breathtaking vocal skills of singer Rita Tila.

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