Svara Samsara

Explosive contemporary percussion from Indonesia

Svara Samsara is a percussion group of five young, talented Indonesian musicians with different cultural backgrounds. They belong to the Rumah Kahanan (House of Situations), a network of Indonesian artists’ communities, which promote traditional and contemporary music and arts. The not for profit Rumah Kahanan Artspace was established in 2014 to preserve, promote and continue the work and idealism of the founder of the Rumah Kahanan Arts Community: the famous Indonesian drummer, percussionist and composer Innisisri.

Rumah Kahanan is active in the fields of non-formal music education and promoting Indonesian culture and music at large. Innisisri started Rumah Kahanan already in 1994 to explore the richness of sounds of Indonesian traditional percussion instruments and music to fuse it within his contemporary music. The concept was to inspire Western pop culture oriented youth everywhere not to forget the richness of their own cultural background and to make them aware of how both traditional and modern music can be blended to become something new, exciting and valuable.

Through his work Innisisri influenced generations of Indonesian musicians. His music brought him and his group to perform throughout Indonesia from 1994 to 2008 and in Europe and Japan from 2000-2008. Sadly, Innisisri passed away in 2009. Rumah Kahanan continues Innisisiri’s vision, inspired by his legacy.

Svara Samsara is now the most important group of Rumah Kahanan, inspired by Innisisiri’s vision. Two of them were pupils of Innisisri. These musicians continue and expand the work started by Innisisri in 1994. For their compositions Svara Samsara use a variety of traditional Indonesian instruments, including:

  • Talempong, a brass idiophonic instrument from Minangkabau, West Sumatera.
  • Sarunai and Saluang, wind instruments from Minangkabau, West Sumatera.
  • Taganing, a drum chime from Batak, Northern Sumatera.
  • Rebana Hadrah, a tambourine like instrument from Banyuwangi, East Java.
  • Kancil, a bamboo melodic instrument belonging to the Jegog orchestra from Bali.
  • Rindik, a bamboo melodic instrument from Bali.
  • Kendang drums and Gong Jawa from Java.

These Indonesian instruments are combined with modern and traditional percussion instruments from all over the world. All the compositions are created by the group, individually and collectively. A concert by Svara Samsara is not like the more regular percussion music performances where rhythms predominate. The many traditional melodic percussive instruments and additional wind instruments they use in their compositions make their music a colourful rainbow of sounds and melodies with unexpected twists and turns. It ranges from introspective melodies to dream on to exciting upbeat poly- and cross-rhythms that makes you want to dance . Richly flavoured with Indonesian spices, their music can be staged in- and outdoor, on festivals as well as in concert halls.

The group was formed early 2015 and has already performed on the big Indonesian festivals.  In February 2016 Svara Samsara launched their first album Svara Samsara. Besides performances, Svara Samsara conducts percussion workshops for schools and master classes.

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