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.
Album Launch: Enrico Rava – The Monash Sessions
In December 2013, 35 jazz students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music travelled…
Celebrated music scholar Dr John Whiteoak promoted to Adjunct Professorship
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music is pleased to announce Dr John Whiteoak, one…
4-star review for album ‘Hexis: The Monash Art Ensemble and George Lewis’
In 2013, Professor George Lewis was welcomed to The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music…
The Paul Grabowsky Sextet Scoops Two Major Industry Awards
It has been an exciting week for Professor Paul Grabowsky, Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow to…
School of Music receives multiple ARIA nominations for Best Jazz Album
The nominations for the prestigious 2014 ARIA Fine Arts and Artisan Awards were announced yesterday….
Creative Music Technology – Blog
What a great start to the year we had in Creative Music Technology. We’re Monash music’s newest course and it’s been exciting to see the wider music community here embrace the CMT students.
Artist in Residence: Kenny Werner
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music was fortunate enough to host the sensational Kenny…
Want to know more about our audition process? We have all audition information for you right…
Finsterer and Grabowsky win in 2014 Art Music Awards!
The winners of the 2014 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards were announced last night at…
Reflection: New York Study Tour, 2014
Each year the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, in collaboration with New York University,…
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.
During semester, seminars are given by staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars. All seminars are held in the Elizabeth Burchill Room, E561, Menzies Building.