Dewa Budjana: Dewa Budjana: Joged Kahyangan

Geannine Reid By

Sign in to view read count
Guitarist, composer and producer Dewa Budjana is from Waikabubak, West Sumba, Indonesia. Budjana has been building a collection of jazz-inspired works and CDs, while also playing and composing for the rock band Gigi. Budjana's influences are varied and he has always infused the traditional sounds Indonesia no matter what genre he is exploring. Budjana's ability to bring together rock and jazz has firmly established his position as one of Indonesia's top guitarists.

Budjana's courageous investigation of blending jazz with the traditional sounds of Indonesia emerged early on in his career and is evident in his group, Nusa Damai. The group focuses on the sounds of Javanese and Balinese gamelan (traditional musical ensemble) and its name would later become the title of his first solo album. Budjana has earned his fame as the founding member of Gigi, which has released 24 albums to date, and considered one of the biggest pop/rock bands in Indonesia.

Budjana's solo career started in 1997 with the release of Nusa Damai, followed by Gitarku (2000) , with its meditative sounds, and Samsara (2003), in which Budjana collaborated with the Grammy-winning Peter Erskine (drums), the late Dave Carpenter (bass) and Ernie Adams (drums). A tribute album for the Asian tsunami victims, Home (2006) was released in collaboration with Erskine, Carpenter and bassist Reggie Hamilton. Budjana's compositions consistently focus on incorporating jazz, pop and traditional sounds to produce music that is personal yet universal.

A biography titled Gitarku, Hidupku, Kekasihku (My Guitar, My Life, My Lover) and a concert DVD of the same title were released in 2008. Together with Indonesian guitarists Balawan and Tohpati, Budjana formed Trisum, earning the reputation of being the home of the jazz guitar gods. With Trisum he released First Edition (2006), Five in One (2010) and a concert DVD.

Budjana's fifth album, Dawai in Paradise, marked Budjana's MoonJune Records debut and was released in February 2013. Dawai in Paradise is a progressive blend of jazz and world music featuring Peter Erskine, Dave Carpenter, Howard Levy (harmonica), Indra Lesmana (keyboards) and Ade Irawan (piano).

Joged Kahyangan (Dances of Heaven) was recorded on June 7th 2012 at Firehouse Recording Studios, Pasadena, CA. and is Budjana's second MoonJune release. The CD features a collaboration, again, with Peter Erskine, alongside Bob Mintzer (sax), Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Grammy-nominated Larry Goldings (piano). A special selection features lyrics and vocals from Grammy-winning singer Janis Siegel of the The Manhattan Transfer.

Kahyangan is the Indonesian word for "heaven." Naturally, it is believed to be a place of great beauty, which is very much indicative of the music throughout the project. Budjana's fluid guitar work always dances between notes and spaces, letting the music breathe. The compositions are all logical journeys that infuse world, jazz and pop/rock into a flowing organic collection of tunes performed by a group of connected, listening musicians.

"Dang Hyang Story" starts with a minor melody over a dramatic sequence of open chords (no thirds, just roots and fifths). The phrasing conveys the shifting time, which mostly consists of 10/8 (6/8 and 4/8) in a natural way with Erskine's drum work providing a substantial rhythmic pulse that keeps everything moving forward. Budjana's warmly distorted guitar blends very nicely with Mintzer's sax for the A section. The bridge finds Mintzer playing the melody, with Budjana switching to a cleaner tone, layering chordal work over a driving 6/8 pulse. The A section follows, leading to a wonderful piano solo by Goldings. Goldings slowly builds his single note flurries, accompanied by cleanly strummed, funky style guitar pads and the big sound of Johnson's pristine lines. Budjana's solo starts with a clear development of motifs and rhythms, with clean articulation and logical statements. Erskine's solo is musical and is backdropped by the 10/8 main theme from the A section. The B section is stated again with a solo from Mintzer over the B sections harmonic movement moved up and over a nice 6/8 pulse. Mintzer make a beautiful statement over the short section which flows back into the recapitulation.

Joged Kahyangan is a very enjoyable collection of compositions that have a fresh sound and feel to them with a core of musicality. The ensemble is tight and the production work is very nice. This is a fine addition to the MoonJune Records library and their heavy hitting roster of guitar players.

Track Listing: Foggy Cloud; Joged Kahyangan; Dang Hyang Story; As You Leave My Nest; Majik Blue; Erskoman; Guru Mandala; Borra’s Ballad.

Personnel: Dewa Budjana: guitar, synth guitar; Larry Goldings: Hammond organ, acoustic piano; Bob Mintzer: tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Jimmy Johnson: bass guitar; Peter Erskine: drums; Janis Siegal: vocal (4).

Title: Dewa Budjana: Joged Kahyangan | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Moonjune Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Procol Harum: Novum" Extended Analysis Procol Harum: Novum
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981" Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Phish: St. Louis '93" Extended Analysis Phish: St. Louis '93
by Doug Collette
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" Extended Analysis Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition" Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Allan Holdsworth: The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!" Extended Analysis Allan Holdsworth: The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!
by John Kelman
Published: April 17, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor