Ida Widawati

Tembang Sunda: Classical Music From West Java

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This Sundanese performance group is led by talented vocalist Ida Widawati. Widawati has spent her life studying under masters of the classic Sundanese form. This is the flagship of five Indonesian recordings. This "audiophile release of the ancient tradition of Javanese courtly poetry recitation" is hypnotic in its ability to vicariously transport the listener to another time and place. An excellent, thick booklet covers contemporary Indonesia, Javanese psychology, and this music form written by New York Times journalist Barbara Crossette. Additional details about the spiritual aspect of Tembang Sunda/Cianjuran music mysteries in these notes come from ethnomusicologist Andrew Weintraub. The ensemble offers three vocalists, two zithers (kacapi), and a bamboo flute (suling). This is another example of New Zealand producer/musician/composer David Parsons documenting a little-known culture and its music.

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