Awkward i Harmonizes Dutch, Indonesian Musical Traditions
Katrin Figge | January 16, 2013
Musician Djurre de Haan and his band will collaborate with a gamelan orchestra this month. (Photo courtesy of Erasmus Huis)
Hailed by music critics as “one of Western Europe’s brightest new lights,” Dutch singer and songwriter Djurre de Haan and his band awkward i, will be part of a unique cross-cultural collaboration that will take place in Indonesia this month.
Organized by the Dutch cultural center Erasmus Huis, awkward i will embark on a tour to Semarang, Jakarta and Bogor, accompanied for each show by Indonesian gamelan orchestra Nikimuzieku.
The orchestra consists of students of the Soegijapranata Catholic University, Semarang, who are on a mission to keep Indonesian traditions — like wayang and gamelan — alive by making the arts more attractive to the younger generation. The students organize collaborations with contemporary musicians and traditional music groups from other countries, including Taiko drum players from Japan.
Staying true to this concept, Nikimuzieku’s joint tour with awkward i seems like a natural choice. De Haan, who comes from Groningen in the northern part of the Netherlands, began his music career as a bass player in the band Alamo Race Track and Hospital Bombers, before releasing his first solo album “I Really Should Whisper” under the moniker awkward i in 2009.
His debut was an instant success in the Netherlands, as he presented a fresh sound that combines meaningful lyrics with melodic depth, resulting in melancholy songs that leave a lasting impression. His sophomore effort “Everything On Wheels” followed two years later, but de Haan wasn’t flying solo anymore — his one-man project had grown into a full band and was lauded by critics and fans.
“This singer-songwriter doesn’t whisper anymore, which is good, as each single note of ‘Everything On Wheels’ must be heard,” one Dutch music critic wrote.
In addition to the release of two successful albums, awkward i is also known for mesmerizing live performances. It is here that de Haan has the possibility to show his true talent: he proves to be versatile, as he owns the stage at all times — be it solo, accompanied only by his guitar or backed by his entire band.
For this tour, a couple of songs from awkward i’s second album have been altered and made suitable for accompaniment by a gamelan orchestra, so the concerts will bring together Dutch and Indonesian cultures through music.
The tour will begin on Friday in Semarang, Nikimuzieku’s home town, and continue to Jakarta and Bogor on Jan. 21 and 23, respectively.
awkward i feat. Nikimuzieku
Jan.18, Semarang, Unika Soegijapranata, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21, Jakarta, Erasmus Huis, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23, Bogor, Auditorium Andi Hakim Nasution, 7:30 p.m.