Strewth! This is the twelfth month of my music blog … where do the years go, eh?
By now I hope the 126 ‘followers’ will have realised that you don’t know what to expect to be posted next: I certainly don’t. An overheard word can spark a search through my archives, as can an occasion, a news topic, an anniversary or, as in this case, an unexpected discovery.
Yesterday, a friend in Yogya was given a CD with the title I’ve used above, but no other information. We do not know the ‘who’ or ‘when’. The ‘where’ is in the title, which is the Indonesian section of the island of Borneo, famous for birds of paradise, and until recently vast swathes of tropical rain forest, much of which has been decimated in this summer’s fires.
The ‘what’ is a small group of 2 or 3 electric sapeh players, an indigenous instrument originally restricted to a form of ritualistic music to induce trance. And that’s what you get in the seven untitled tracks you can download from here.
The minimalist scales and a drone of the sapeh, over which voices and a ‘suling’ (bamboo flute) drift around in the background make for strangely hypnotic, ethereal and in parts funky, yet essentially primeval music.
Download and set your player to loop mode and be transported to hidden areas of your brain.
You’ll feel better for it.
Mathew Ngau Jau (documentary in bhs. Malaya)