Return of Sacred Rhythm Festival for 20th Anniversary

Category : Adventure | Posted On Jan 13, 2020

Cultural music festival Sacred Rhythm, two decades after its first launch in the millennium is all set to make a comeback this Saturday in Jakarta.

With an invitation-only event in 2018 and the SRRU, several events have been arranged in the run-up to SRRU.  Celebrate Life art exhibition at the National Museum in 2019.

The original Sacred Rhythm festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday. The original event was held at Pura Samuan Tiga and Penataran Sasih in Bali in 1999.

The original festival at that time sanctioned by UNESCO featured more than 1,000 percussionists in the lineup. This SRRU will be more intimate while focusing on the theme “Recognizing Rhythm” and the tagline “Bridging Art-Science-Conscience”..

This time the original focus will be on percussion to make a return, along with original festival performers, including American percussionist and director of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) electronic percussion studios Amy Knoles.

 Joel Virgel-Vierset and Houman Pourmehdi the fellow percussionist are invited by Knoles. Traditional and modern musicians will be included in Indonesian performers lineup, such as Acehnese Canang 7 Atjeh Ensemble, Betawi’s gambang kromong troupe Kinang Putra and DJ Leno Rei.

Rhythm Salad, The the Sacred Bridge Foundation’s music workshop program are also in the linup of the participants. This workshop was held between Jan. 6 to 10 at the Namarina Dance Academy studio, with the final result of the program to be showcased at SRRU..

If you are looking to attend SRRU, you are required to make a minimum donation of Rp 50,000 ($3.61), which will go on to fund future projects by the Sacred Bridge Foundation..

Ginastera “Boo-Boo” Sianturi  the chairman of Sacred Bridge said the original festival came out of the turbulent times to end the millennium in the run-up. The focus was to highlight culture as the solution where politics and trade failed to play the role.

“Twenty years on, we still face wars and racism and all sorts of issues. Humans are still territorial beings with their own boxes, so it’s our rallying cry to the younger generation to break these barriers,” he said.

The original concept for SRRU was to be held in Bali to pay tribute to the original festival held in 1999. However after going through different regeneration of its own kind the Sacred Bridge board were not sure that are going to be able to pull off a festival in Bali due to reasons relating to funding and resources.

It made sense to hold SRRU in Jakarta as the foundation and volunteer belong to Jakarta. 

“The challenge is actually in highlighting the aspect of sacredness in a city you wouldn’t associate with it. The concept of the art-science-spirituality triangle has a similarity with the Balinese idea of spirituality,” he says.

The road to SRRU is a rocky one, with the existence of the Sacred Bridge Foundation itself in limbo following the passing of founder Serrano Sianturi, Ginastera’s father.

“When he passed away in early 2019, the foundation was nearly dissolved. However, I talked with several friends and volunteers on our way going forward and they were all very spirited in their optimism, so I was pretty pumped up as well,” he said.

Ginastera  seems to be hopeful of SRRU becoming an annual festival with already a plan of Balinese concert held on New Year Eve to welcome 2021.

“It will also be a test for the younger generation, whether we can continue the legacy of our predecessors.” (ste)


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