Danis Sugiyanto, Guest Artistic Director

Danis Sugiyanto, Guest Artistic Director, Spring 2018

Mas Danis is a visiting Fulbright Scholar with dual appointments teaching Javanese gamelan at William & Mary and the University of Richmond. He will  join Rumput during his semester-long residency, playing key gigs at Cornell University, in Baltimore and Washington DC, and in Richmond. He is also helping us compose and arrange music for our next big touring project, Akar.

Born to a renowned family of musicians in Solo, Java, Mr. Sugiyanto has been an active performer of traditional gamelan, kroncong and experimental music since his early teens. He graduated in 1995 with a BA from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Solo, earning his MA there in 2003 and immediately joined the permanent faculty. He has performed extensively in Asia, Australia, America and Europe. He was a featured musician in Robert Wilson’s I La Galigo and has performed extensively with Ong Keng Seng, Rahayu Supanggah, I Wayan Sadra, Waljinah, Sardono W. Kusumo and many others. He has been a featured performer in several of Garin Nugroho’s films

Hannah presents at UNS’s International Awards Summit on Javanese Culture

Universitas Sebelas Maret UNS held their 1st Annual International Awards Summit on Javanese Culture on October 28th 2017 with an aim to develop discussion and share ideas related to Javanese culture. The event was opened with a keynote speech from Dr. Hilmar Farid, the Head of the Directorate General of Culture from the Ministry of Education and Culture and a panel discussion was held between experts in the field, Jennifer Lindsay, Kathryn Emerson and Ki Purbo Asmoro. Hannah presented a version of her TED talk about jam karet (rubber time) and keroncong, and was among presenters from a variety of disciplines ranging from religious studies to architecture. The event closed with an incredible stream of performances including a short wayang.

Java residency and scholarships

We’re excited to announce several emerging long-range developments.

We often call ourselves Richmond’s first and only orkes kroncong. That’s true, but it seems we’re actually the only active kroncong group in North America. We’ve been gratified by the positive recognition we’ve received for playing this music that is very dear to Indonesians: for every view our YouTube channel gets here in the US, we get 45 in Indonesia.

In the coming weeks we will deepen that connection. In August we are all being flown to Bandung, Java, for a 12-day residency where we’ll perform several hours a day and collaborate with local musicians.

Then singer / cakista / bandleader Hannah, bassist Natalie, and puppeteer Edward will stay on for a year of immersive study — Hannah as a Fulbright scholar studying kroncong, and Natalie and Edward as Darmasiswa scholars studying gamelan and wayang (shadow theater), respectively. (See the writeup on the VCU Music Alumni Kudos blog.)

Before our scholars depart we’ll drop into Montrose Recording in July to document some of our current repertoire.  Then the rest of us stateside will retool and learn new and adapted repertoire in collaboration with master musician and visiting Fulbright Scholar Danis Sugiyanto from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts, in residence at the University of Richmond during the spring 2018 semester. (You may have seen Danis perform with us as part of the Shadow Ballads tour in 2016.)

All of this means you have only one last opportunity to catch us in our current form: June 16 at Henrico Theater with Gamelan Raga Kusuma.  Come out and see how far we’ve come in the last two years; we can scarcely imagine the next two!