Bali Spirit Festival Rocks On – Day 3 | Robin Sparks

Bali Spirit Festival Rocks On – Day 3

SAHARADJA!!! I am SO a fan, as of last night. Truly amazing.

The performance was a reminder of what I love and miss most about Istanbul, Turkey (my home of 3 yrs) and my home of origin in Northern California – music that celebrates life, that is a way of life, that connects at a profound soul level, and that pulls us out of our chairs to dance and sing along. It was a sign that yes, even in quiet meditative, healing Ubud, the music is still alive.

Saharadja onstage last night at the Bali Spirit Festival. Photo by Robin Sparks

Saharadja onstage last night at the Bali Spirit Festival

How about an regular outdoor venue in Ubud where bands can play late into the night? Ideas anyone? Can we bring global music and dance to Ubud on a weekly or at least monthly basis? Then again, I might not ever leave Ubud if there was good live music on a regular basis. Hmmm… has this to say about Sharadja:

World Music with a Rock Attitude!!

It’s commonly acknowledged that we live in a global era marked by the increasing movement of people and the exchange of ideas across national borders. Now, perhaps more than ever, we have the opportunity to learn from different cultures in order to create a better world based on peace and the celebration of cultural difference. In this context, a new musical form known as world fusion has been gaining momentum, and at the forefront of this movement is Indonesian band SAHARADJA.

Based on the beautiful island of Bali, itself a centre of cross-cultural exchange for centuries, Saharadja comprises a group of highly innovative, world-class musicians dedicated to making music that captivates the soul and transports us to a place where the vision of global harmony becomes a reality. Saharadja push the limits of the world fusion form, combining an exciting array of musical inspirations – both traditional and contemporary – in unique and often unpredictable ways.

Whether its reworking Brahms with latin beats and salsa trumpet; combining tabla with electrc violin; mixing a traditional Balinese song with a Celtic reel and Arabic vocals; juxtaposing didgeridoo with trance beats; or bring the soothing sounds of an Indonesian gamelan orchestra into play with slick acid jazz trumpet, the result is nothing short of uplifting. This is freestyle world music that is played from the heart.

During the six years they have been together, Saharadja has toured South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea , China and they look forward to sharing their music with the rest of the world.

Saharadja. One band, many flavours. Says bandleader Rio Sidik:

‘We celebrate the best mix of world music styles. We are passionate about what we do and are wholly committed to it. We can only have world peace if we take the trouble to explore and understand different cultures. I don’t want to sound like Miss Universe but we truly wish to contribute to world peace!! It is one of my dreams to play for the world’s leaders and show them how with music all ethnic groups can come together as one.’

Eight member band, Saharadja, was formed in Bali in 2002 by acclaimed Indonesian trumpeter and vocalist Rio Sidik, and Western Australian violinist Sally Jo. Between them, this energetic group play a diverse range of instruments including the trumpet, electric violin, didgeridoo, sitar, djembe, sarod, darabuka, Irish tin whistle, congas, fretless bass, drums and a large assortment of percussion instruments. Inspired to a large degree by the free form of jazz improvisation, the band explores a range of different rythmic traditions deriving from India, the Middle East, continental Europe, South America, Africa, China, and the British Isles.

All of the band members are accomplished soloists trained in improvisation. On stage together as Saharadja, their various talents for music make for playful experimentation and high energy entertainment. Sally Jo explains the band’s name:

‘Saharadja is an acronym of the band members’ names because we are a team and each member is as important as the others. Every member is a soloist and is indispensable to the band. Saharadja also means King of the Desert – an explorer. A desert is enormous and can seem ‘never-ending’. This is how we see our music – exploration and unlimited sounds.'”

And what a treat it was!

Check back here later today as I’ll be blogging about two workshops I attended yesterday: Swami Shankardev’s Yoga Tantra p1080336 and Ines Somellera’s Yoga & Writing Class.

Meanwhile, get your tickets for tonight’s live perfomances beginning with Mia Palencia of Malaysia, Ni Ketut Arini with Cudamni, Simak Dialog, and ending with Ganga Giri of Australia. See you there!

Robin Sparks, blogging from the 2009 Bali Spirit Festival

Getting to one's message via the body - Yoga & Writing Workshop

Discovering one's message via the body - Yoga & Writing Workshop

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2 Responses to Bali Spirit Festival Rocks On – Day 3

  1. Sally Jo October 13, 2009 at 10:06 am #

    We’re so glad you enjoy our music! We often perform in Ubud so be sure to check our schedule at when you’re next there to see if we’re performing!

    Thanks so much for your support!

  2. Robin Sparks November 1, 2009 at 2:34 am #

    Were you performing a couple of weeks ago at the Antonio Blanco Museum?

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