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Jakarta Post

UNESCO names Ambon 'city of music'

  • Gisela Swaragita
    Gisela Swaragita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 1, 2019   /   08:00 am
UNESCO names Ambon 'city of music' Picturesque beach on Ambon Island, Maluku. (Shutterstock/File)

UNESCO has named Ambon, the capital of Maluku, a “city of music” to mark World Cities Day on Thursday.

Ambon is one of 66 cities around the globe included this year in UNESCO’s Network of Creative Cities for their own unique cultural signatures. The total number of member cities, chosen because they each have a unique cultural signature, is now 246. The latest additions include Angouleme in France as a city of literature and Aregua in Paraguay as a city of crafts and folk art.

The network brings together cities according to their creative developments, whether in music, arts and folk crafts, design, cinema, literature, digital arts or gastronomy. Through the network, the city members have the opportunity to engage in peer learning and collaborative projects to fully capitalize on their creative assets.

UNESCO general director Audrey Azoulay said that the appointed cities have their own ways of making culture a pillar of their communities and not merely an accessory.

“This favors political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations,” Azoulay as quoted on the UNESCO website.

Previously, the Ambon administration and Indonesia’s Creative Economy Agency (BEKRAF) nominated Maluku's capital to be the world’s 18th musical city.

As part of its effort to win the recognition, the city administration recently officiated two buildings to support music-related activities. They are a music studio at Pattimura University and an ethnic music assembly hall on the campus of Ambon Islam State University.

Located on the eastern part of the archipelago, Ambon – and Maluku in general – is best known for producing Indonesia’s top musicians and singers. Among them are singers Melky Goeslaw, Harvey Malaiholo, Ruth Sahanaya, Andre Hehanusa and Glenn Fredly.

On the official campaign website,, the city claims to have 534 musicians, 780 choirs, 94 studios and 177 musical groups.

Maluku boasts a plethora of unique traditional musical instruments, including the tahuri (flute made from a conch shell) and the tifa drum. (gis)