Nestled among one of the many rooftops which can be found in the lush green parts of Delhi known as Siri Fort, there exists a unique jam-pad “TRIPPY TALES” where every evening a growing group of dynamic musicians and visual artists in all forms come together to engage in an expressive dialogue. SENSEi India’s team took part in one such exchange with a young musician from Indonesia.
Here are some excerpts from that eventful evening when we unraveled Bintang’s story!
Bintang Manira Manik is positively charged energetic personality, who is a multi-instrumentalist and an electronic music producer from Indonesia. Starting his instrumental tryst with the Djembe, he has since, mastered several percussion instruments such as Conga, Bongo, Timbale, Kendang Sunda (Indonesian drum), Tabla and continues to explore. Deeply connected with the musical form of expression, he has been instrumental in forming the bands “Trippy Sama”- a world music project, “Sounds of Hanamangke”- a Sudanese rock group and has been the director at “Raag of Javadwipa”, a world music concert held in 2015. Today, back in Indonesia he is part of the collaborative music project "Cakravala Mandala Dvipantara".
Tell us about yourself.
I was born into a family of visual artists. My parents facilitate a Cultural Center that enables the youth to learn and practice their artistic abilities.
Were you naturally inclined to taking up music?
One day I was crossing by a Djembe class at the Institute and a teacher in the class called out my name. I was hesitant at first but joined them to play.
Initially I never liked loud sounds because I used to work towards calming myself through painting. But after the first class I began playing for hours, starting as a group and then as a soloist.
What is it about Music that stirs you?
There are no visuals and it involves no planning. It is the limitless vibration of all things. It has the ability to grow plants, to energize water, bringing to life the essence of its being.
The whole universe is vibrating and that is Music.
Music is all about going with the flow and going where it takes you.
African, Latin, Indonesian to now Indian, how did the India chapter take place?
Back in Indonesia, I used to study Ethno Musicology in college but I never really attended any of the classes. I would sit back in my room and meditate. Later in search for an escape & thirst for more Music, I applied for a scholarship from Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and came to Delhi in 2013.
While playing music, Collaboration is an important aspect of performing. What led to your collaborations here in India?
At a tabla concert I met a fellow mutli-instrumentalist, Rahul Sharma and while bidding farewell at the metro station our last words were, ‘I play djembe, I play djembe too’! At another event, we met each other and this time he told me that he sings and plays other percussion instruments too. Our bond was instant! You can find your connection anywhere. Effortlessly!
For me, collaboration is all about listening. Because when you listen, you understand better. If you don’t listen, you are on your own solo trip! A trip to no-where. I always connect back to my center every time there is a drift. This I do through meditation and practicing music.
What brought together all of you as “Cakravala Mandala Dvipantara”.
Cakravala Mandala Dvipantara - The name that we choose for the music project, reflects the spirit of uniting Nusantara (Indonesia).
Cakravala Mandala was a revelation from the sky that was dropped on King Kertanegara of Singhasari who envisioned the union of Southeast Asian maritime kingdom under Singhasari in 1275, which eventually inspired the well-known prime minister of Majapahit, Gajah Mada, in 1336, who took the empire to the peak of its glory.
Indonesia (Nusantara) and its diversity of tribes create many folklores, from stories of gods and goddesses, giants and fairies, local heroes and magnificent love stories. It has its influences from all the cultures from around it, such as Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese, and abroad such as Arabic, Indian, Chinese and even European creating a cultural assimilation.
This assimilation creates lots of interesting folk music such as Gambang Kromong, Keroncong Tugu, Rebana and martial art such as Silat.
We are a group of 9 young talented musicians & performers, coming from diverse traditional and modern music backgrounds.
We aim to take you on an adventure of magical sounds from the origin and give you a mysterious, intense and a deeply emotional experience.
How can one be in sync with their group?
First you’ll have to listen to the energy of group. Anchor it. Keep the beat, tempo, so that you can flow with it. Our Vibe attracts our tribe.
In all of this harmony, what is the importance of Silence according to you?
Between each alaap there is silence, the silence is as essential as the alaap. There is silence. There is chaos. After the silence, chaos is less chaotic. You become a calmer version of the chaos.
Silence is about taking breaks, taking in the realization and flowing with it! In silence you understand better and know better.
Experience the Silence in the Chaos!
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