Nothing speaks to the essence of KiaiKanjeng more than those three words: Soul, Heart, and Sacred. And if I had to identify the core of Mbah Nun’s written works, spiritual teachings and social mission over decades in Indonesia, in three words, it would be those words. Mbah Nun’s literary works focus sharply on the Soul, the Heart and the Sacred, adopting and fielding motifs and symbols from Islam and the Holy Koran. Light, the 99 Names of God, countless references to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his life in the titles and contents of tens of books of poems, plays and collections of essays. These are solidly grounded in Indonesia and faith in a series of works featuring the fictional character of Markesot and his journey through religious practice and thought, accounts of the Kiai, their culture and behaviour. Whether aimed at stimulating spiritual growth or playfully engaging in satire, all of these works reflect the human Soul and Heart, and the supremely Sacred.
For the followers of the Maiyah movement, KiaiKanjeng are the musical embodiment of Mbah Nun’s works. Over decades, led by Nevi Budianto, this orchestra has performed at hundreds of venues in the towns, villages and cities of Indonesia. Touring constantly to fill Maiyah events and performance requests, they travel nationwide with their rich repertoire of shalawat, wirid, traditional songs and modern pop fusion. KiaiKanjeng have skillfully adopted and adapted the traditional religious music of other countries such as Egypt, and brought it new audiences around the world. They have a musical gift; they can play as quietly as a small bird’s wings in flight and then rise to resemble the roar of a speeding train. They are as gentle as snow, as powerful as an avalanche. This is the gamelan orchestra that plays for and heals communities hurt and broken by conflict, injustice or hardship. They perform in Indonesia; they perform overseas; they perform indoors and out, in open fields, halls, churches, mosques and synagogues, they play for the BBC in London and for Egyptian TV in Cairo, they play for popes and prime ministers, they play for the rich and the poor, and they play for us.
KiaiKanjeng are, along with Mbah Nun, the soul and heart of the Maiyah movement. Their music over tens of albums calls to the sacred, conveys the sacred, and transports us to a state of the sacred. The Kenduri Cinta community is pleased to welcome KiaiKanjeng to Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) in Cikini on Saturday 21 October! Join us in an evening of Soul – Heart – Sacred, and much more!