Zur gleichmäßig fließenden Begleitung auf Zithern und Bambusflöten singt Ida Widawati kunstvolle melodische Linien, die an indischen und arabischen Gesang erinnern. Die besonders gestimmten Saiteninstrumente klingen gamelanartig, wie Regentropfen. Eine angenehme Trance entsteht. Ida hat in ihrer Heimat Westjava, aber auch schon auf Konzerten in Frankreich Schallplattenaufnahmen gemacht. Eine weitere hervorragende Produktion von David Parsons.

the project

Tembang Sunda: Classical Music from West Java is the first compact disk to be issued out of a larger body of recordings from Indonesia. It is a little known fact that Indonesia is the fourth largest country on Earth with a population approaching 200 million. It is the world's largest Islamic country, and it is Australia's nearest neighbor. Only ca. 100 km (60 miles) away from the northern tip of Australia, it is about as distant as Cuba is from the United States and what a distance that represents in real life...

Once again, the intrepid New Zealand producer/musician/composer David Parsons has made a significant contribution to the knowledge of a little known culture and its little known music. The booklet gives a detailed introduction into Java's contemporary culture (written by The New York Times journalist Barbara Crossette) as well as into the esoteric realm of Tembang Sunda/Cianjuran music in particular (written by eminent ethnomusicologist Andrew Weintraub). It is a landmark of world music and a unique achievement by an expert team of musicians, producers, engineers and writers; it continues Celestial Harmonies' tradition of long standing to enrich the catalogue with recordings from Southeast Asian countries which will play a significant role in the development of the 21st century but are nevertheless widely unknown and misunderstood in the West.

the artists

Ida Widawati leads the Lingkung Seni Malati (Malati [Jasmine Flower] Arts Circle), a musical group dedicated to performance and recordings of Sundanese music. Born January 7, 1956 in the town of Garut, West Java, Ida's parents actively supported the arts and encouraged their children to pursue the study of Tembang Sunda. By the age of five Ida was learning Tembang Sunda from Ibu Sumekar, a relative of her father. After moving to Bandung to attend Pajajaran University , she continued her studies with some of the most influential figures of Tembang Sunda including Maman Rukman, Uking Sukri, Mang Engkos, and Mang Eutik. Although her recording career began in 1973, now with over 20 cassettes, 1994 marks the year of her first compact disk, recorded live in France. Currently, Ida Widawati lives in Bandung and continues to study Tembang Sunda with Apung SW and Ibu A. Cicah.

The group has performed on European tours abroad in 1974 and 1992-1995 which have taken the group to The Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden, among other countries. In addition to female vocalist and leader Ida Widawati, the group featured on this recording includes female vocalist Lies Setiawati, male vocalist and kacapi rincik musician Heri Suheryanto, kacapi indung musician Ajat Sudrajat, and suling musician Iwan Mulyana.


1 bubuka (introduction) 4'36"
  tepang asih (loving welcome)  
2 papatet 11'03"
  mupu kembang (picking flowers)  
3 nataan gunung 10'16"
  bulan tumanggal (new moon)  
4 balaka (candid) 7'41"
  ligar (flower in full blossom)  
  angin peuting (evening breeze)  
5 pangbagea (greeting) 3'54"
6 udan mas 10'20"
  udan iris  
  sekar manis (sweet flower)  
7 kapati-pati (infatuation) 11'44"
  eros (rose)  
  kacipta (imagination)  
8 ceurik rahwana (rahwana weeps) 8'29"
  kulu-kulu bem  
9 sekar duaan 2'42"
  Total Time: 76'47"

Celestial Harmonies' catalogue of Indonesian recordings include:

Tembang Sunda: Classical Music from West Java 13134
The Music of Bali, Vol. 1: Jegog 13136
The Music of Bali, Vol. 2: Legong Gamelan 13137
The Music of Bali, Vol. 3: Kecak & Tektekan 13138
The Music of Islam, Vol. 15, Muslim Music of Indonesia, Aceh and West Sumatra 14155
Yogyakarta: Gamelan of the Kraton 13161
Music of Indonesia: Flores 13175
Music of Timor 13182
The Music of Bali, 3 CD Boxed Set 19905