Five day festival celebrating Indonesian culture coming to Glasgow

Preview: Discover Indonesia

Senyawa / credit: Mao Nianshu

Discover Indonesia showcases the country's music, art, film, dance and theatre

With more than 13,000 islands, about 300 languages and a population of over 250 million people, it’s hardly surprising that Indonesia is a country with a rich and diverse heritage. Yet, how much do we in Scotland know about Indonesian culture?

For those of us whose answer is ‘not much’, things are about to change. Bringing the largest curated showcase of Indonesian arts ever presented in the UK, Cryptic is a key partner in an initiative which covers London, Cardiff and Glasgow. Discover Indonesia celebrates 70 years of Indonesian independence and the vibrantly coloured programme includes music, visual art, traditional dance, film, theatre and, of course, some of the delicious cuisine for which the country is famed.

‘We are always interested in cultures of other countries,’ says Cryptic artistic director, Cathie Boyd. ‘We started to reflect on the work we’ve been programming over recent years and wanted to introduce work from a different culture, and that part of the world is really changing at the moment.’

Following a British Council visit to an arts market in Jakarta, Boyd was hooked and determined to bring her experience to Glasgow. Gamelan is, of course, part of what is on offer, both through Gamelan Untethered, a futuristic fusion of gamelan and western instruments, as well as with Javanese dancers from the Mangkunegaran Royal Palace. More avant-garde is Senyawa, who push the boundaries of Javanese tradition.

‘The two guys are just incredible,’ says Boyd. ‘Rully Shabara’s voice goes from falsetto to deep, deep bass. And they are also pretty crazy.’ For Boyd, it’s deeply important to look at other people’s cultures. ‘Discover Indonesia is a pilot to see how the people of Glasgow and Scotland respond and to ask whether they want more.’

Discover Indonesia takes place in various venues around Glasgow, Wed 9–Sun 13 Sep.

Discover Indonesia

Cryptic present a celebration of Indonesia, in the 70th year since the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence, featuring a host of artists, filmmakers, writers, performers and more.

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