Two very different, very rich cultures combined,
rooted in centuries of intertwined histories.
Music to be in the lead position,
but also incorporating theatrical elements
and specially designed masks.
Not an opera,
but a challenging kind of music theatre!

Bandung based gamelan ensemble KYAI FATAHILLAH is going to meet BLACK PENCIL August 2022 in Indonesia as well as in November 2022 in Holland. Each ensemble is going to present itself, both ensembles will make first performances  of compositions specially been created for this occasion, by a composer from “the other” culture.

Both ensembles together will perform for the first time a collective work created by IWAN GUNAWAN (Bandung) and RODERIK DE MAN(Amsterdam), this to be a music-theatre achievement inspired by the theme TOPENG – MASQUERADE. Any boundary between the two cultures involved (Indonesian and Western) is going to be  crossed in many ways. Not only in the tonal way (Pelog/Slendro versus Major/Minor), but also in exchanging players, instruments and additional “props” like masks (in Indonesian language: topeng)specially designed by a Bandung based artist.

Apart from the Topeng-Masquerade by Iwan Gunawan and Roderik de Man, DYANE DONCK (Holland) is presenting her latest composition specially created for KYAI FATAHILLAH and JAY AFRISANDO (Indonesia) is presenting his latest composition for BLACK PENCIL.
Additionally both ensembles will each also present a particular piece from their repertoire: Kyai Fatahillah LALAMBA by Iwan Gunawan (inspired by Steve Reich) and Black Pencil BUFFONI by Roderik de Man (referring to Commedia dell’Arte, a street music theater, also described as Comedy from the Renaissance in Italy).

As if the intercultural aspect of this project would not be enough, the line up of Black Pencil is an exemplarity: the players are originated from Venezuela, Holland, Austria, Turkey and Spain. Kyai Fatahillah being a Sundanese (West Java) ensemble, is not only specialized in Sundanese music, but also capable of performing other musical cultures from Indonesia like (Mid) Java and Bali and a variety of cross over with all sorts of Western music: Jazz, Pop and contemporary music.

The set up for TOPENG-MASQUERADE has been made by P.H. (in full: Piet Hein van de Poel, curator/creative producer of Trace21 Foundation, the Netherlands) after years of research and discussing the matter with a number of fellow organizations and individuals. The Indonesian  organizations involved are: Pertemuan Musik – Gema Swaratyagita (Jakarta), Art Music Today – Gatot Danar Sulistiyanto (Yogyakarta), ISI-Yogyakarta – Asep Hidayat (Yogyakarta) and UPI – Prof. Juju Masunah, Iwan Gunawan, Ayo Sunaryo (Bandung). The Indonesian assistant producer: Jeanne Christine Pramoedya.