The Javanese vocal art has a long tradition that dates back before the introduction of Islam to the island of Java in the 14th century. This CD presents the three most popular types of Javanese vocal art: solo vocal (track one), vocal accompanied by one or few instruments (track two), and vocals accompanied by a gamelan ensemble (track three). The Javanese vocal art uses a typical popular Javanese poetry called macapat. It is a poetry specifically written to be sung. In Java, this type of vocal art can be sung both by men or women. In track one, listeners hear a male singer singing a solo excerpt of a well-known legend. On track two, listeners hear a male street singer accompanying himself with a 13-string zither. Javanese street singing is a very important form of vocal art. On track three, listeners hear a different style of vocal art called siteran, which is generally accompanied by a full gamelan ensemble. On this recording, it has been replaced by three zithers and few percussion instruments. The singers heard on this CD are among the most respected Javanese singers of this art.
AllMusic Review by Bruno Deschênes