Life After the World’s End: an Interview with Senyawa

The Indonesian band speaks about journalist cliches, and decentralization

Global Zomia podcast is back with long-expected guests—the Indonesian duo Senyawa. Its members, Rully Shabdara and Wukir Suryadi, combine their personal perceptions of avant-garde music, extreme vocal practices, and sound art while playing self-invented instruments and some traditional music from their home country. Yet, their sound is so unique that it’s impossible to determine where exactly these elements of their music actually intersect.

Senyawa became known outside of Indonesia in 2015 after releasing their album Menjadi on Rabih Beaini’s Morphine Records, and in 2018 cemented their reputation as one of the most extraordinary artists in the global experimental scene when their album Sujud was out on the legendary Sublime Frequencies imprint. In February 2021 their new album Alkisah will be released on thirty different independent labels worldwide simultaneously, opening a new chapter in the history of the band. In this podcast, Bulat Khalilov speaks with Senyawa about the concept of their new record, life after the world’s end, artists who influenced them, the decentralization of music, culture, and society, journalist cliches about non-Western music, and other topics.

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Bulat Khalilov
Ethnographer, journalist, co-founder of the Ored Recordings label, specializing in field recordings of authentic traditional music from the Caucasus, Russia, and the world. Lives and works in Nalchik.
Musicians Rully Shabdara and Wukir Suryadi from Jogjakarta, Indonesia. Their works explore the aural elements of traditional music in the framework of experimental music practice.