Indra Ridwan Expands Our Understanding of Indonesia

Ethnomusicology graduate student Indra Ridwan has many accomplishments to celebrate this fall. His article on Sundanese children’s songs “Kakawihan Barudak Sunda: Sundanese Children’s Songs of West Java, Indonesia” was recently published as the lead article in the journal Asian Musicology [17(1), 2011: 7-52]. Ridwan also played a leading role in the organization of the Indonesian Cultural Exhibition that took place at the William Pitt Union on October 9.

Ridwan's article is based on his MA thesis and he writes,

"This essay defines the musical characteristics of Sundanese children’s songs (Kakawihan Barudak Sunda) and interprets the meanings embedded in these songs. Kakawihan Barudak Sunda are sung throughout the province of West Java and refer to: (1) a repertoire of songs, and (2) the social context of singing these songs. The lyrics of Kakawihan Barudak Sunda contain deep meanings and reflect particular Sundanese historical, social, and cultural/religious values. Kakawihan Barudak Sunda are disseminated orally from one generation to the next. Sundanese believe that these songs have existed for hundreds of years. In the 1950s, the context of performance of Kakawihan Barudak Sunda shifted from village contexts to entertainment, music competitions, and festivals. This essay presents a musical and textual analysis of four Kakawihan Barudak Sunda."

Pitt’s Indonesian Student Association presented the "Indonesian Cultural Exhibition" in collaboration with the Indonesian Embassy, and the Indonesian Consulate General. The exhibition garnered a proclamation of October 9 as “Indonesian Culture Day” from Pittsburgh’s City Council. [View the proclamation (PDF).] The measure was sponsored by Councilman William Peduto, who referred to Ridwan as “a guiding force” behind the exhibition.

The Indonesian Cultural Exhibition attracted attention in Indonesia itself with Voice of America covering the event. On October 26, video of the exhibition aired on one of Indonesian’s major national TV stations, Metro TV.”

Congratulations to Indra Ridwan on his major publication and his contributions to the highly successful Indonesian Cultural Exhibition. You can see Ridwan in performance with the University Gamelan during the upcoming World Music Festival at the William Pitt Union Ballroom on December 4 from noon-4 p.m.