Jokpiniana I : A reflection on dangdut

Work on the opera is going quite well. Haven't made up my mind about the dialogues & recitatives, but I have done some arias and choreographical music. I decided a few days ago to take a break from it and compose my short (4-minute) choral piece commissioned by the ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Indonesia) Choir for their tour to Italy.

The piece will be for SSAATTBB choir.For about one year I have been fascinated by the (very) short poems of Joko Pinurbo "Jokpin". You can find them (if you understand Indonesian) in . I have been toying the idea of putting several poems into one short piece, and writing for the choir has provided me the opportunity to do so. So, Jokpiniana will be a series of choir pieces, or shall we say "choir etudes", and this one for ITB will be the first of I-dunno-how-many-will-there-be etudes for choir. In this piece I concentrate especially on his fantastic poem "Dangdut" which provides me the ostinato, but I will treat it antiphonally. Dangdut is a very popular rhythm that is very close to the heart of most of Indonesians. One always say that it belongs to the low-class people, but hey, all the diplomats at the Indonesian embassies around the world always organize dangdut parties. They even have dangdut artists TO BE FLOWN FROM INDONESIA for their "cultural" events. I must say that they are more representative of Indonesian culture than, let's say, me or my colleagues of "classical music" who are pretentious enough of searching things such as "What is Indonesian classical music ? What is Indonesian opera?" and other useless soul-searching questions. Dangdut IS our identity !