Rumput tours Java

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!

Grace Street Theater show with Gamelan Raga Kusuma, dancers, and more!

Poster by Lee Wall, raison

Come celebrate 10 years of Gamelan Raga Kusuma at the anniversary concert!  This show features a highly diverse survey of Indonesian arts, and is kid-friendly.  Get your tickets while you can!

Update 2017-03-20:

Fantastic show to a capacity crowd at GST!  Here we are performing in front of our beloved Javanese and Balinese gamelan instruments from Gamelan Raga Kusuma, and the public debut of the rabbit from our newest crankie, “Silver Dagger” by Hannah Marie Standiford:

Rumput live on WRIR

WRIR selfie

We dropped in to play a set for WRIR-LP-FM’s Fall Fund Drive.  Many thanks to Alan Coberly of The New Breakfast Snob!

Playlist:
00:32:00 — Introduction to kroncong
00:32:44 — Walang Kekek
00:38:15 — Jali-Jali
00:51:40 — Valley Forge / Walking Up Georgia Row
00:58:48 — Wedang Kacang
01:03:04 — Nyi Roro Kidul
01:09:00 — Band introduction
01:16:20 — How Come That Blood

Clifftop Appalachian String Band Festival

Photo by Amos Perrine for No Depression.

The Clifftop Appalachian String-Band Festival is a week-long gathering for musicians and friends that features concerts, contests, flatfoot dancing, campfires and workshops. Rumput entered the Neo-Traditional competition and made it to the finals!

We also made some great new friends.  Watch for future collaborations, shows, and crankies with this year’s neo-traditional winners The Early Mays.

See the write-up at No Depression.

Shadow Ballads

In April 2016 we toured with Shadow Ballads — a collaborative music and shadow theater performance involving Balinese master puppeteer Gusti Sudarta, master Javanese kroncong musicians Peni Candrarini and Danis Sugiyanto, and old-time Appalachian balladeers Anna & Elizabeth. This production incorporated new arrangements of traditional Indonesian and Appalachian music as well as a newly produced crankie based on The Ramayana.  We performed at The University of Richmond, Cornell, Wake Forest, Bucknell, the Indonesian Consulate in NYC and the Indonesian Embassy in DC.

Photos, bios & tour/production blog