Written by the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music’s Professor Margaret Kartomi, Musical Journeys in Sumatra looks at the musical arts and cultural history of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is the world’s sixth largest island, and home to more than 44 million people.
This unique work examines the complex diversity of Indonesian music from the early 1970s on. It provides a fascinating record of vanishing musical genres, traditions and practices that have been compromised by the pressures of urbanisation, poverty and policy.
Professor Kartomi said she decided early in her academic career to produce the book, which covers the gamelan, a traditional musical ensemble from Indonesia, and the music of six of Sumatra’s 10 provinces.
“My husband and I made innumerable trips throughout this huge region and its offshore islands, and collected musical, visual and textual materials, including musical instruments,” Professor Kartomi said.
“The main obstacle, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, was the difficulty of reaching many areas of Sumatra, especially in the mountain ranges, due to the poor communications, with many major roads having been built only in the past 20 years or so.
“Yet this was also an advantage in that the performances we encountered were virtually untouched by the outside world.”
Professor Kartomi said she had vivid memories of Sumatra’s still-unspoilt natural environment in the 1970s and the kind and hospitable people who were proud of their ancient cultures.
“Hundreds of musicians, instrument makers, dancers, poets, story tellers, shamans, headmen, fisherfolk, farmers, merchants and corporate and government officials helped us record, photograph and study the wealth of music encountered on our journeys,” Professor Kartomi said.
“I hope the book will increase the appreciation among Australians and Indonesians of the little-known performing arts of Sumatra, and that artists will learn to perform some of the repertoire.”
The book examines all forms of music in Sumatra including vocal, instrumental, body percussion, dance, the art of self defence, the bardic arts and the musical theatre performed in rituals, processions, government and commercial events.
Musical Journeys in Sumatra is available through University of Illinois Press.
Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University, invites proposals for papers and presentations … Continue reading Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music
Joseph Tawadros to give Keynote Address at School of Music Conference
As part of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music’s 50th anniversary celebrations, acclaimed composer … Continue reading Joseph Tawadros to give Keynote Address at School of Music Conference
Conductor and Composer Jobst Liebrecht in Residence at the School of Music
German conductor and composer Jobst Liebrecht has been invited by the Sir Zelman Cowen School of … Continue reading Conductor and Composer Jobst Liebrecht in Residence at the School of Music
Violist Lisa Grosman appointed to the School of Music
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music is thrilled to announce that violist Lisa Grosman will … Continue reading Violist Lisa Grosman appointed to the School of Music
Dr John Garzoli awarded a Post-Doctoral position at Khon Kaen University
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music are thrilled to announce that Adjunct Research Associate and ethnomusicologist … Continue reading Dr John Garzoli awarded a Post-Doctoral position at Khon Kaen University
Musical Symposium Hits High Note
The first international symposium on the Malay musical arts of the Riau Islands (also know as … Continue reading Musical Symposium Hits High Note
Welcome to our new Head of Music, Professor John Griffiths
Distinguished scholar and early music specialist Professor John Griffiths commenced his appointment as Head of … Continue reading Welcome to our new Head of Music, Professor John Griffiths
Dr Paul Watt awarded Faculty of Arts Fellowship
Dr Paul Watt, a senior lecturer in musicology in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of … Continue reading Dr Paul Watt awarded Faculty of Arts Fellowship
Chamber Recording of the Year 2014 awarded to Sellars and Fujimura
Dr Kenji Fujimura and Elizabeth Sellars awarded Limelight’s Chamber Recording of the Year for their … Continue reading Chamber Recording of the Year 2014 awarded to Sellars and Fujimura
Blog: Highlights of Semester 2, 2014
It has been a jam-packed semester here at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music! … Continue reading Blog: Highlights of Semester 2, 2014
Review: The Monash Sessions – Enrico Rava
Review: Jazzwise Magazine (London) The Monash Sessions (Jazzhead) Featuring: Enrico Rava (trumpet), Paul Grabowsky (piano), … Continue reading Review: The Monash Sessions – Enrico Rava
The Second International Symposium on the Malay Musical Arts of Indonesia’s Riau Islands (SIRI)
In the past decade, a growing literature has emerged on the phenomena of sound and body movement in relation to the human emotions and senses.