Detty Kurnia

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The musical traditions of Indonesia meet the electronic technology and rhythms of the West through the music of vocalist Detty Kurnia. Well known in Indonesia since the late '70s, Kurnia steadily increased…
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Artist Biography by

The musical traditions of Indonesia meet the electronic technology and rhythms of the West through the music of vocalist Detty Kurnia. Well known in Indonesia since the late '70s, Kurnia steadily increased her following throughout the world since 1990 when her album, Rayungan, was remixed by Japanese producer Makoto Kubota and reissued in Japan. The collaboration with Kubota continued with Kurnia's next album, Dari Sunda. Released in 1991, Dari Sunda remains the all-time best-selling Asian album in Japan. Reissued by the Riverboat label in 1995 as part of their Women of the World series, Dari Sunda was included on a list of five best albums by Q Magazine and hailed by Folk Roots as "an imaginative, inventive gem throughout with Kurnia's mellow smile of a voice effortlessly binding everything together."

The daughter of a musician, Kurnia began singing at traditional music festivals at the age of six. Within three years, she was regularly performing at weddings and special celebrations. Her debut cassette was released when she was 11.

Although she initially sang in the style of kulningen, the vocal equivalent to Indonesia's gamelan music, Kurnia switched to the pop-sunda style, a combination of Western pop and Sudanese music, in the mid-'70s. The transformation made her one of Indonesia's top vocalists. Signed by Dian Records, a Java-based label, in 1981, she recorded 40 cassettes over the next nine years.