Preview: Europalia Arts Festival (London, 20th October 2017 to 18th January 2018)


Since the late ‘60s and every two years since Europalia Arts Festival has been focusing its attention by shining a new light on the musical culture of a different country. The last edition, which occurred in 2015, was dedicated to Turkey. Two years earlier, it was India, while 2014 was the year of Brazil, and so on, since its birth in 1969 with Italy.

Despite Brussels being the capital of the Festival, with shows happening all over the city since its first instalment, the recent editions also saw London (along with dozens of other European cities) welcoming and hosting the event, all presenting exciting “local” versions of Europalia.

The 2017 programme is entirely dedicated to Indonesia and will excite London’s music enthusiasts with four stimulating gigs. London-based music agency KazuM have seized the opportunity to produce four shows highlighting South Asian music and dance expressions in all its variety.

From late October to late January, the British capital will welcome sounds coming from Java, Sumatra and the remaining 18,000 and more islands

The “opening ball” will happen on the 20th of October at Rich Mix with a good-and-proper vintage party overflowing with colourful and tuneful atmospheres from the ‘60s and ‘70s, provided by uninhibited rock and psychedelic attitudes from the likes of Indische Party, The Flower Girls and DJ David Tarigan.

Just a week later, on the 28th of October at LSO St Luke’s, it will all be about gamelan (the Indonesian traditional ensemble music) and Moondog (the unorthodox American composer).  A bamboo Gamelan orchestra directed by composers Ivan Gunawan and Stefan Lakatos will revisit Moondog’s legacy in an original and nonconformist way, in much the same way as its original interpreter.

On the 25th of November at Kings Place, Peni Candra Rini, a musician from Surakarta, and dancer Ade Suharto, will introduce the audience to the iconic female figure of Nyai Ontosoroh.

After the Christmas and New Year break, on the 18th of January, the UK version of Europalia Festival will drop its curtains with an offbeat music excursion guided by Aloysius Suwardi and his original way of presenting Indonesian music. His visionary talent and self-made instruments will be employed to give life and sound to Planet Harmonik, a project inspired by the Pythagorean theory of the Music of the Spheres.

You can temporarily put aside your dreams of Hindu temples in Java or southern Lombok beaches, because, in a few weeks’ time, Europalia and KazuM will fill your ears with their captivating perspective of Indonesian culture.

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