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Intimate History no. 1: Yono

electroacoustic music

Year:  2005   ·  Duration:  14m

Year:  2005
Duration:  14m

Jack Body

Composer:   Jack Body


An electroacoustic composition incorporating spoken narrative and field recordings from a Sumatran village.

I met Yono in 1976. In knowing him through these many years I have learnt many things. The stories of his childhood in a village in South Sumatra continue to surprise and fascinate me, and it has long been my wish to make a work with his collaboration.

In this intimate history Yono speaks for himself. Excepting the very first section (rebana Betawi) which I recorded in Jakarta in 1994, all the examples of music were recorded in Yono's village in 1977 & '78. These genres include children's music with bamboo stamping tubes, music to accompany martial arts (pencak silat), Islamic chants accompanied by frame drums (jedor), rice pounding music (lesung), and music played on instruments improvised from cut rice stalks (dremenan). Yono himself intones and sings a traditional Javanese song, the text of which may be freely translated as:

This is an ornamented pangkur (poetic form).
As a model for the living,
Let it be known
What is good and what is bad.
Local customs should be observed,
As well as ordered existence maintained,
Day and night.

I was delighted to accept a commission to work again in the studios of IBEM, having not worked in the medium of electroacoustic music for many years.

– Jack Body

Commissioned note

Commissioned by IMEB (Bourges studio)

Text note

Incorporates Islasmic chants from Sumatra, also an ornamented pangkur (poetic form)

Performance history

06 Jun 2006: Performed at the Festival Synthese; Bourges, France