Miguel Trapaga and Cultural Diplomacy: More than just pretty tunes

Photo: Miguel Trapaga (third from left), Ananda Sukarlan (third from right) and Francisco Aguilera (Spain's Ambassador for Indonesia, ri...

Photo: Miguel Trapaga (third from left), Ananda Sukarlan (third from right) and Francisco Aguilera (Spain's Ambassador for Indonesia, rightmost) with the members of the Spanish Embassy

INDONESIAKININEWS.COM - Last Monday, December 19th, the Spanish Embassy in Indonesia invited prominent Spanish guitarrist Miguel Trapaga to give a concert at the Gran Melia Hotel Jakarta. It turned out to be not just a nice, entertaining concert, but a profound and subtle cultural diplomacy of the highest class, introducing, mixing and collaborating the music and cultures of Spain and Indonesia through the virtuosic performance of the Maestro.

It was attended by the people who need to listen, be enriched and inspired by Trapaga's musical artistry: from ambassadors and diplomats of other countries, some creme de la creme of Indonesian society (feminism activist & writer/journalist Julia Suryakusuma and hotel owner Reggy Suriadjaja was spotted among the audience) and artists especially musicians, such as Indonesian prominent guitarrists Benny M. Tanto, Jubing Kristianto, John Paul and Indian sculptor, pottery and ceramic artist Arti Gidwani.

This concert presents one of the most valuable traditions in European

musical history: the Spanish classical guitar, whose origins date back to the end of the Middle Ages. The selected pieces for this concert belong to the first half of the 20th century, a period of splendour in the Spanish arts and humanities and of great inspiration for guitar composers.

This repertoire for guitar draws on the rich folklore of the whole country (and not only Andalusian as it is often thought) and on the European classical compositional tradition.

But it is the masterfully written and exquisitely performed "The 5 Lovers of Drupadi" that deserves a special mention for several reasons. It was composed by the Indonesia's most renowned classical composer Ananda Sukarlan in 2009. This work is therefore inspired by both the Spanish guitar and the Indonesian musical tradition.

The composer, who was bestowed the honorary knighthood "Ordine della Stella d'Italia" by President Sergio Mattarella was present that evening and introduced his work, expressing his gratitude to Miguel Trapaga who "...commissioned the work and trusting me to write my first work for the guitar for the prestigious Segovia Guitar Festival in Spain. Imagine experimenting for the first time, for a distinguished guitarrist and premiered in the leading world class festival!

Although the guitar is so closely associated with the Spanish sound, I wanted to write my music which is very Indonesian, so I tried to transform the guitar into a different tuning so it can convey gamelan sounds. It was Trapaga who gave me a deep insight into the instrument and what I could or could not do with it", explained Ananda.

The way of doing things in one culture may not be the way in other culture. What sounds (or looks) good in one culture may be strange or even bad in other culture. Sometimes the activities are all the same in two different cultures, but two different meanings, two different interpretations.

Fostering relationships between different nations or cultural background requires cultural empathy and understanding, and this is where music and other works of art become an important asset for any nations who want to connect in a more profound and emotional way, since arts are powerful to move and touch people's hearts directly.

Therefore, "The 5 Lovers of Drupadi" is indeed a milestone in the history of guitar music in Indonesia, since it achieved to establish the "Indonesian sound" with the guitar while deriving the "western" guitar techniques. "Drupadi" proves that the guitar is a universal instrument, not only apt for producing that typical Spanish sound. Since his first work, Ananda has written more works for this instrument, either as a solo instrument or as part of a chamber music group, and even has published his musical scores for guitar. Indonesian guitarrists should really have a look at his music, since Ananda's music has been played worldwide by other renowned guitarrists since its premiere by Trapaga at the Segovia Guitar Festival.

Apart from being an eminent champion of the guitar, Miguel Trápaga is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music

of Madrid. He has performed in the main concert halls and theatres around the five continents with numerous orchestras in Spain as well as with Canberra Symphony Orchestra, National
Philarmonic of Ukraine, Sesi Fundarte Chamber Orchestra (Brazil), Thailand Philarmonic Orchestra, etc. Furthermore, Mr. Trápaga has played in broadcasts for Spanish National Radio, Antena 2 of Portugal, ABC of Australia, BBC etc., and he has recorded eight compact discs. His last CD for NAXOS includes the first recording of the Concierto de Benicassim by Leo Brouwer.

Apart from Sukarlan's masterwork for the guitar, at last Monday's concert Trapaga performed the Spanish classics which are Sonatina by Federico Moreno-Torroba, Sonata op. 61 by Joaquin Turina and Angel Barrios. He also played the well-known Suite in A minor by the Mexican composer Manuel Maria Ponce.

Source : Indonesiakininews.com


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IndonesiaKiniNews.com: Miguel Trapaga and Cultural Diplomacy: More than just pretty tunes
Miguel Trapaga and Cultural Diplomacy: More than just pretty tunes
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