Fatas Di Atas Awan (Drag City, 2008)
At last, Indonesian band Suarasama has been given the opportunity to reach international audiences. American label Drag City Records recently released Fajar Di Atas Awan, an album of delicate and beautiful trance-like songs inspired by Sumatran, Sufi, Middle Eastern, Malay, Eastern European and African music. The composer of the music is Irwansyah Harahap, an ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist based in Medan (Indonesia) who plays gambus, ud, guitars and also provides vocals.
Saurasama is led by Irwansyah Harahap and Rithaony Hutajulu (who is also an ethnomusicologist), but the group has many members that change with each performance. The musicians featured on Fajar Di Atas Awan disc include Syainul Irwan (lead vocals and sruti box), Nandang Kusnandar (kendang and Persian duf) and Erni Zulfan (tabla, rebana, Persian duf, vocals).
The CD was originally released in France by Radio France Internationale. Drag City Records discovered Saurasama in a Smithsonian folkways compilation titled Music of Indonesia, Vol. 20: Indonesian Guitars, released in 1999. That song is the title track of the record.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.