Utama, recorded in Bandung during the summer of 2022, brings together the award-winning vocalist Ani Sukmawati with West Java’s finest kacapi and suling instrumentalists. The album features the premier of Burhan Sukarma’s latest vocal compositions Tawakal (“trust”) and Utama (“foremost”), sung for the first time by Ani Sukmawati and performed in the classical style of Tembang Sunda. Burhan’s compositions Banda Manusa (“humanity’s assets”) and Mangga (“as you wish”), previously released as instrumental pieces, realize their full potential on this recording with the glorious interplay of Ani’s vocals and Burhan’s suling playing. Throughout the album, the creativity and depth of Yusdiana and Dede Suparman on the kacapi zithers provides a necessary foundation that allows the music to reach its greatness.
Utama displays a range of tunings including Pelog Kobongan, Pelog, Sorog and the rarely recorded Mandalungan tuning heard on the Kacapi-Suling pieces Mayaselas and Banjaran.
Ani Sukmawati (vocals) is recognized as one of the most sought after vocalists in West Java. Her vocal range includes performances and recordings in multiple music genres. Ani has won many of the prestigious vocal competitions that are held annually throughout West Java. Her online video performances have hundreds of thousands of viewers from around the world. She has toured internationally and keeps a busy performing and teaching schedule based in Bandung, West Java.
Burhan Sukarma (suling) has a 50 year career as a prolific recording artist, composer and performer. He is known internationally for his improvisational virtuosity on the suling. Burhan's suling style has influenced all succeeding generations of younger players in West Java, Indonesia. During the 1970s and ‘80s, he appeared on the majority of suling recordings produced in West Java. Burhan has performed, recorded and taught throughout the United States and directed the group Pusaka Sunda for the past 35 years.
Yusdiana (kacapi indung) is an award-winning virtuoso on the kacapi and gamelan degung instruments. He has gained an international reputation through his performances in Europe and Asia. As a first call musician for music competitions, festivals and national events, he performs frequently on TV Republik Indonesia Bandung and Radio Republik Indonesia.
Dede Suparman (kacapi rincik) has been the ‘first call’ rincik player in West Java for the past 40 years. During those years he also performed for millions of listeners as a principal musician at Radio Republik Indonesia Bandung. Dede is featured on hundreds of Tembang Sunda and Kacapi-Suling recordings. He regularly performs, records and teaches throughout West Java.
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