Senyawa, the duo of Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi, uniquely manages to embody the aural flavours of Javanese music while exploring the framework of experimental music practice, pushing the boundaries of both traditions. In so doing, the music strikes a perfect balance between avant-garde influences and cultural heritage to create truly contemporary Indonesian music.
Their sound is comprised of Shabara's deft extended vocal techniques punctuating the frenetic neo-tribalism of instrument builder Suryadi's modern-primitive instrumentation. Suryadi's inventions are numerous, for example his handcrafted 'Bamboo Spear,' a thick stem of bamboo strung up with percussive strips of the plant's skin along side steel strings. Amplified, it fuses elements of traditional Indonesian instrumentation with garage guitar distortion. Sonically dynamic, the instrument can be rhythmically percussive on one side while being melodically bowed and plucked on the other.
The duo has been performing together since 2010 when Wok the Rok dared them into an impromptu improvisation. They quickly began composing music together and shortly after released their debut self-titled album on Wok The Rok's seminal label, Yes No Wave. Following several Indonesian tours, Senyawa's mesmerizing live show quickly attracted considerable attention, and was followed by numerous invitations to perform at festivals in Australia and Europe.
The duo return to Berlin after a celebrated CTM concert appearance this past August 2014, perhaps best described as “on a force-of-nature level” (Resident Advisor). In 2015, Senyawa arrive on Rabih Beaini's Morphine label with the full-length album Menjadi, preceded by a 12" that features their track "Di Kala Sudah" reinterpreted by master improviser and Buchla synth pioneer Charles Cohen.