Krakatau Band



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Distinctive sound of Krakatau music originates from ancient Gamelan tonal system called ‘S’lendro’, which is known in Karawitan traditional music of Sunda, Java, and Bali. Based on S’lendro tonal system, Krakatau adapts Western diatonic musical elements, which energized by modern feels of jazz, rock and pop in a form of fusion with various ethnic rhythms of Indonesian musical traditions. Through devotion, Krakatau constantly developing its basic traditional Karawitan Gamelan musical style to donates new genre of sound into World Music. Despite the distinctive frequency of particular tone that could sound peculiar to Western ears, the treasure of rhythmic expression is valuable language to communicate to global audiences. Further more, Krakatau is continuously adapting Western diatonic elements into its basic S’lendro tonal system. The uniqueness of Krakatau music is indescribable by any exotic line of words, the only way to find out is that, “One must see and hear the difference”.


Pra B Dharma, Fretless “Slendro” Bass :

Pra B Dharma uses special Fretless Bass with particular tuning based on Gamelan pentatonic scale called S’lendro. Different than equal tempered standard tuning

Dwiki Dharmawan, Micro-tuned Keyboards :

Besides regular diatonic keyboard, Dwiki Dharmawan uses specially tuned keyboards and sampler into particular tuning based on Gamelan pentatonic scale called S’lendro. Different than equal tempered standard tuning, Krakatau music utilizes 10 tones division in an octave with 1 additional note for Balinese style or certain purposes. Keyboard sample contains various kinds of sounds from Indonesian traditional instruments and music sampling such as Gamelan Orchestra, choirs, group of percussions or voices.

Yoyon Dharsono Plays Various Traditional Instruments :

T A R O M P E T : Indonesian (Sundanese) double reed instrumenst : its sound resembles a clarinet or oboe but more brittle and harsh. In Sumatra and Malaysia this instrument is called the serunai. Consisting of a pipe with six holes tarompet can produce the same pitches as suling (bamboo flutes). The playing of tarompet in West Java is commonly associated with the traditional Sundanese martial art known as pencak silat, as the instrument is used to accompany the pencak dance. The tarompet is played by circular breathing, a blowing technique that produces long continous notes without pauses or gaps.

S U L I N G : Sundanese end-blown flute. The suling is a bamboo pipe with six holes. Another type of suling. Called suling degung, has four holes. The suling produces soft, middle ” to low ” pitched sounds. Skillful solo players are able to play long bending notes and impressive, drawn-out melodic contours. Suling come in different lengths which determine their “key” or pitch range.

B A N G S I NG : Sundanese transverse bamboo flute. While suling us the general name for different types of flute, the bangsing is the name of a specific variety of flute used by musicians in the West Javanese city of Cirebon. It produces louder and higher-pitched sounds than the Sundanese suling. Bangsing are also used for dangdut music, Indonesia’s most popular commercial music genre.

R E B A B : Indonesian (Sundanese, Javanese or Balinese) fiddle. This two-stringed bowed instrument resembles a member of the violin family and is the most important stringed instrument in Karawitan (traditional music from Java and Bali island) esembles. The rebab in gamelan music embellishes the vocal melody and serves as a melodic guide for the composition. The sound of the rebab can be abrasive or smooth, depending on the player’s taste and the type of song being played. Its sound can be harsh and strident or as melancholy as a Western violin. Conventional rebabs have resonating chambers made from stretched snake or thin goat skin, while the tarawangsa, a special type of rebab, has a larger body made of wood. The distinctive sound of tarawangsa fiddle is characteristic of the traditional music of Baduy, a remote area in West Java.

Ade Rudiana plays various percussions

K E N D A N G : A set of kendang consist of one large drum and an additional two small drums. The kendang is hand drum made of wood shaped into tapering cylinder and is played while seated on the floor. One side of the big drum is smaller than the other, and produces high-pitched “tak” and “plak” sounds. The bigger drum head has a sound similar to a bass or floor torn; its size is about 14 inches in diameter and it can also produce tones with variable pitches controlled by the heel of the player’s foot. The two small drums are placed on each side of the large kendang : these small kendang are called kulanter and produce sounds like “toong” and “poong”. Ade Rudiana is presently Doctorate candidate in ethnomusicology at the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI Jogya), and an adjunct faculty member at Bandung Institute of Arts (STSI-Bandung).

R E B A N A : Rebana are similar to tambourines but have a thicker skin cover and only two or there pairs of metal disks fitted into slots parallel to the head. Rebana come in different sizes, the smallest can be as small as 5 inches in diameter and the biggest rebana can have a diameter of 18 inches. Larger instruments sometimes lack metal disk. Rabana are usually played by a group of 4 to 8 percussionists who play counter-rhythms or in unison. Sometimes rattan sticks are used to strike the drum heads in order to creative louder, more percussive sounds.

Zainal Arifin plays Gamelan

S A R O N : Sundanese keyed rnetahlophone instruments consists of iron, steel or bronze keys laid across a wooden trough and held in place with posts. The keys are padded slightly with rubber or cotton rope where the metal keys come into contact with the wood. The sound is crisp and brittle. The saron is a standard instrument of Javanese and Sundanese gamelan but is fairly uncommon in Bali. The tonal range of the saron I is higher than saron II and it is struck by wooden hammer stricks instead of mallets.

B O N A N G : Indonesian (Javanese or Sundanese) gong chimes. Bonang are important instruments of the traditional gamelan. The bonang is a set of small knobbed gongs which are placed horizontally on a rack in one or two rows. They are part of a family of similar rack gong sets that differ in the number and sizes of gongs used as well as in the number of rows. The bonang does not usually play the main tune; instead it play patterns of rapidly struck notes that complement the melody. Its timbre is softer and lower than saron and has a longer sustain envelope. Bonang are played by mallets.

Ubiet, Voice

Ubiet has been exploring various genres of music. From the richnest of Indonesian  traditional music to contemporary. She has been working together with many musicians, music group and composer. She received her PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her dissertation topic was on Acehnese Music.

Gerry Herb, Drums

Gerry Herb has been one of the most in demand drummers in Indonesia, capturing the attention of the international music scene.  Gerry Has performed or recorded w ith various Artists.


On Line Jazz Journal

July 2004

Krakatau at once offered some new, even exotic ideas, and yet remained very true to the promise of American fusion-proving that the band has successfully found a way to honor both its Indonesian roots and its American forbearers.


June 25-30, 2004


Krakatau is Indonesian jazz-rock fusion, a sextet from playing funky backbeats with gamelan

Krakatau, the music of Indonesia

Superb musicianship and creative artistry

Victoria Lindsay Levine, Ph D., Professor of music :Director, Hulbert Center for Southwestern Studies _Colorado College

Krakatau, Amazing sounds that creating tuneful soundscapes

Vancouver Jazz Festival 2004

Russel Ferrante (Pianist and Composer)

” His impressions of Indonesian music and Dwiki himself solidified once he got to play with the group. “It definitely had the flavor,” Ferrante says. “It was built on different scales, but it was a nice blend. You could do your thing and be yourself in this music, but it had the influence of those traditional scales. Everything made sense and it wasn’t difficult, though technically, there were some difficult things. There were some unison runs and a few lines that kicked our behinds. Dwiki’s revenge! But it was challenging in a good way.” (Keyboards Magazine USA July 2008)

Steve Thornton (Legendary Percussionist)

“What struck me about Dwiki’s band was that they were playing jazz world music, but I could feel the traditional sound,” he says. “For me, that was the first time I’d ever heard that sound. The rhythm was definitely happening. The singing had Indonesian textures and it was something different for me. I had never heard anything like it before and I played their CD over and over. Then I met Dwiki and performed with him many times. I really love playing with him. This man has such a passion for music and he has inspired me very much.” (Keyboards Magazine USA, July 2008)

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