Easily one of the most unique, talked-about and mind-altering bands currently touring the international circuit, the Indonesian duo of Wukir Suryadi and Rully Shabara tend to leave both audiences and critics at a loss for how exactly to describe the group’s powerful, unprecedented music. Suryadi, the instrumentalist of the group, plays a bambuwukir, a kind of modified zither of his own invention that derives as much from traditional Javanese music as it does his own idiosyncratic practices. In the hands of Suryadi, the dynamic stringed instrument is manipulated feverishly, unleashing skittering runs, percussive booming and delicate thrums in turn.
Perhaps even more dynamic is vocalist Rully Shabara. Transitioning between accomplished, operatic falsetto, frantic phonetic mumblings, laughter, throaty growls and piercing screams (often within a given composition) Shabara displays an unparalleled performativity tempered by fabulous sensibility. Working in such extremes, one may expect the music to be confrontational or thorny, but to Senyawa’s credit, the results are more often soulful and empowering.
It’s safe to say there is no other band on the planet quite like Senyawa. What do you call the music of this Indonesian duo: folk? Doom metal? Unplugged minimalist noise improv? In fact, it is a little bit of each. - Pitchfork