press enter to search

Dewa Budjana tries 'something different' on 10th solo outing

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, December 11, 2018  /  03:39 pm
Dewa Budjana tries 'something different' on 10th solo outing

Guitarist Dewa Budjana of pop-rock band Gigi speaks on Dec. 10 during the launch of his new solo album, 'Mahandini' in Kemang, South Jakarta. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Guitarist Dewa Budjana of Gigi launched his 10th solo album, Mahandini, on Monday in Kemang, South Jakarta.

Featuring seven tracks, the album's title derives from maha (large) and Nandini or Nandi, the guardian deity depicted as a bull that serves as Shiva's mount. For Dewa, "mahandini" symbolizes a large carriage that allows him to team up with different musicians.

The guitarist said he was lucky to work with celebrated musicians in the industry like keyboardist and Dream Theater band member Jordan Rudess, German drummer Marco Minnemann, bassist Mohini Dey, who often collaborates with guitarist Steve Vai, and guitarist and former Red Hot Chili Peppers band member John Frusciante. He also worked with Grammy-nominated guitarist Mike Stern and Indonesian multi-talented artist Soimah Pancawati.

“I wanted to try something different [on this album],” said Dewa. He seemed reluctant to put his album under any genre, saying he “just wanted to make music”.

However, each musical collaborator certainly imbued the album with their creative influence.

Dewa sent musical notations and demos to the musicians beforehand to obtain their interpretations. Mahandini was recorded live during a one-day session at a Los Angeles studio. “We had three takes on the first track because we were still adapting to each other and we’d never recorded together before,” he said. “They also seldom record an album in a single day.”

Frans Sartono, a senior journalist who moderated at the album's launch, said the short time spend on recording the album sparked spontaneity and responsiveness. “Our creative energies are fired up because we must finish [the recording] in time while still maintaining our [technical] precision,” he said.

Read also: Guitarist Dewa Budjana to tour five Indonesian cities

Dewa admitted that a number of unexpected mistakes happened during the recording session. “But that’s what collaboration is all about – we make something together, even if I created the composition,” he said.

Mahandini begins with “Queen Kanya”, an instrumental inspired by the history of Ida Dewa Agung Ratu Kanya, who was the Balinese queen of Klungkung in 1814, said to have defeated the Dutch during the war in Kusamba. Dewa wanted to have her recognized as a national hero.

“Queen Kanya” has bass solo in the last section, accompanied by Dey’s konnakol, a rhythmic vocal performance of syllables that Dey and Minnemann had arranged. “I didn’t know about it [konnakol], but both Dey and Minnemann prepared and performed it during the recording. It is the highlight of this song,” said Dewa.

Dewa Budjana (left) speaks as senior journalist Frans Sartono looks on during the launch of 'Mahandini' on Dec. 10 in Kemang, South Jakarta. Dewa wanted to try Dewa Budjana (left) speaks as senior journalist Frans Sartono looks on during the launch of 'Mahandini' on Dec. 10 in Kemang, South Jakarta. Dewa wanted to try "something different" on his 10th solo outing, which features collaborations with a number of notable musicians, including Jordan Rudess, Mohini Dey and Marco Minnemann. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

The album continues with “Crowd”, a darker track that Frusciante composed. Frusciante also composed and sang on “Zone”.

Meanwhile, Soimah wrote the lyrics for the vocals on “Hyang Giri”. Dewa was inspired to create the song after the eruptions of Mount Agung in Bali and Mt. Merapi in Central Java. The sound of a Balinese gamelan can be heard midway on the track, balanced out with Soimah’s vocal style.

Mahandini is to be released on Dec. 20 in Yogyakarta, where Dewa challenged 55 artists at the Sangkring Art Space in Bantul regency to draw their own interpretations of the album's cover illustration. The 55 album covers are to be auctioned, with the proceeds to be donated to Suka Pari Suka Yogyakarta.

The solo album is also slated for release in the United States and Germany in vinyl format, as well as in Japan. Mahandini is already available on the Bukalapak online marketplace and via streaming platforms. (kes)