This time its Indonesia! The Future Sounds of Folk

STEIM’s never ending quest to explore and connect the deepest corners of underground experimental music continues. Last month’s SOUND TRIANGLE with Korea was a huge success (checkout photos from Seoul and Amsterdam), and in December, after two years of preparation, we start The Future Sounds of Folk project.


“The Future Sounds of Folk is not ethnomusicology for the faint-hearted; rather it is a journey to experience and rediscover the history and tradition of folk, not as the past, but one with a future, and on that would appear well worth waiting for” The Wire, August 2010

What is musical heritage with a contemporary vision? What is it’s ever-changing impact on contemporary forms of creativity. These were the questions we felt that weren’t asked in discussions and projects that dealt with preservation of tradition and cultural heritage. We wanted to see new things come out of the old. This is when we met Marc Chia, a Singaporien digital musician who was living in Rotterdam at the time.

Marc wanted to explore an unique experimental approach to musical traditions that reflected both his personal practice and the state of electronic and electro-acoustic music. He initiated The Future Sounds of Folk project in 2009, and STEIM supported his field work in Indonesia in 2010 to search for innovative musicians and a distint form of local music.

Marc Chia writes in his reportage:
“Since the first of January 2010, I commenced fieldwork on the island of Java in Indonesia. Initially, I tried to organize some workshops with local grassroots organizations to gather mu- sicians, historians, musicologists, composers, environmentalists and social workers to discuss about issues that they feel have impact on their tradition and folk music. This lead to collaborations with local musicians and renowned musicologist Mr Endo Suanda.

Subsequently, I opened an art space in Yogyakarta called The UnifiedField to organize more activities for The Future Sounds Of Folk. Together with my partner Marta Moreno Muñoz we organized a series of events that featured both international and local experimental audio visual work.

I believe that the most interesting developments in contemporary Indonesian music come from the outside of the traditional institutions and from the underprivileged musicians like Jimbot and Wukir. They are connecting with a non-mainstream tradition, bringing in Sundanese influences into their music which has been largely neglected by the Jakarta-centric modernization.”

When Marc started sending us footage from his new collaborations we were really blown away. It wasn’t cheesy world music that we associate so strongly now when we hear of folk meets electronics, it was music that was made from exploratory musicians coming together to make something new. It was music that sounded like no other.

Early this year we worked on a grant proposal to bring some of these musicians with Marc to the Netherlands. The ideas was to showcase them as well as create a musical meeting with Dutch musicians. Thank to the gracious Performing Arts Fund NL (FPK) we have been able to organize a 4 city tour in prestigious venues. The full program with information on the participating artists can be seen here. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see these amazing musicians from South-East Asia!

Comments are closed.