• +31618707052
  • renadisantoso0@gmail.com

About the artist – and his ensembles

Interested in booking? More info?

HP: +31 – (0)6 – 18707052

Email: renadisantoso0@gmail.com

About me I’m Indonesian by descent, but I have lived my entire life in Europe. I studied my Eastern roots and at the same time was brought up in local Western cultures (D, NL). My musical background spans Western classical (Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam), Javanese and Balinese gamelan, Indonesian folkmusic (Lagu Rakyat), Angklung, Sundanese music on zither (kecapi) and suling (bamboo flute), West-European Folk, Rock, Pop, Improvisation, experimental and Jazz.

In the past I collaborated with a.o. Pierre Courbois, Boi Akih/Monica Akihari, Mondriaan string quartet, Multifoon, Gending, Widosari, Theater Djempol, Keola Beamer, Han Bennink, Wieteke van Dort, Gerard Mosterd, Roscoe Mitchell (Art Ensemble of Chicago), Ernst Jansz (Doe Maar). I’m specially interested in cross-cultural and cross-platform/media projects, looking for that ‘added value’ in inclusive and confrontational modes of collaborations.

I composed, adapted and/or produced music on commissions for many groups, productions and organisations including Gong Tirta (2000 – 2021), Tong Tong Fair (2005 and 2020), Bangkirai X (2020), Poppenspelmuseum (2020), Eté Parfait (2014 – 2021), Kalangkang (2013), Theater Djempol (2003 – 2011), Musik Nusantara festival (2006), Jakarta Street Band (2005 – 2006), Wereldkinderfestival (2003), Gerard Mosterd (‘Please let me see your face’ 2003), Angklung Santosa (2002 – 2003), Ubit Iskander (‘Dari Mana?’ 2002), Yeh Bersih (1999), Multifoon (1998), Immortal Fit (1996), aWás! (1995 – 1996), Tropenmuseum JR (1992), Made in Holland Korzo festival (1985). My improvisational skills were honed in bands like Aorta (1982 – 1999) and Kieselguhr (1978 – 2003).

On this site are brought together my albums which  – despite huge differences – all have one thing in common: the fact that they all fuse and mix genres. And for the most part Indonesian music (gamelan Bali/Jawa, Tembang Sunda, Keroncong, Lagu Rakyat) is one of the ingredients.

‘Mutant Leisure’ – modern Indonesian dance, music by Kieselguhr
Solo impro on classical guitar

Currently active ensembles

Gong Tirta

Gong Tirta is our gamelan fusion ensemble. We play Balinese gamelan instruments from the ‘Kebyar’ type. This is a very dynamic and lively style. Gamelan is a set of instruments including gongs, kettles, metallophones and hand drums. Basically it’s melodic percussion. Sometimes bamboo flute (suling) is played. Traditional music has a lot of cyclical movements, with melodies and themes repeated throughout, giving it a trance-like atmosphere. The Kebyar style adds dynamic changes and surprising turns and twists to the music.

But Gong Tirta is no average gamelan group. The basic line up also consists of instruments like guitar, bass, keyboards, drums etc. All players switch instruments regularly during concerts which makes for a great variety of sounds, moods and instrumentation. Currently they play mostly original pieces composed by members of the group. Their inspiration ranges from traditional forms from Bali, Central Java and Sunda (West Java) to progrock, folk, mediaeval, jazz and pop. The central mission is to show the world that gamelan is fun and inspiration. We are keen to share the unique voice of gamelan in contemporary music. And we wish to draw in listeners who are not (yet) informed about gamelan, or who maybe have a one-sided idea about gamelan as being ‘difficult’ or ‘inaccessible’.

Our most well-known song is probably ‘Tales’, based on the poem ‘The Tale of Two Continents’ by the late Sitor Situmorang. Other well-known songs and pieces include ‘Feu du Feu’ (‘Vuur en Vuur’), ‘Freedom Bells’ (‘Merdeka Bellz’), Imprint (all composed by Renadi Santoso), Palindromes (Luiz Henrique Yudo), Trë (Jeroen Sep) and MeanderLust (Jessica Polak).

In 2022, new pieces include ‘ZapHooligan’ (Jeroen Sep), ‘Kacang Lupa’ (Jessica Polak) and ‘Stretch’ (Renadi) which were performed live in September at the first Tong Tong Fair after the Corona lockdowns. Gong Tirta also took on itself to perform live parts of the Bangkirai X magnum opus ‘Devachan Ascension’.

Gong Tirta also collaborated with director Mohammad Babazadeh from The Tropenmuseum Amsterdam for their music theatre piece for children. ‘Een Kikker in ’t Paleis?!’ is a musical fairytale for young and old, written by Jessica Polak. Versions in Dutch and German language were performed at the Volkenkundig Museum in Leiden (2018/2019) and at the international gamelanfestival Indonesia#Bronze.Bamboo.Beats in Munich (2018).

To date, Gong Tirta has released three albums.

The first CD ‘Tales of Two Continents’ (2011). To order, contact us please.

The second download only album ‘CrossWorX’ (2018) (listen on the downloadpage).

The third album ‘Sounds of Spring’ (2022) was released on CD as a limited special edition 25th anniversary Gamelanhuis production. It is available as download.

Learn more on the history of Gong Tirta from traditional kebyar and baleganjur orchestra (starting in 1986) to modern fusion band on the Gamelanhuis site. Click here.



Gong Tirta on Gamelanhuis.nl


Kalangkang is a small scale chamber music ensemble (two or three players). Main members of the group are Renadi Santoso and Jessica Polak. The instruments reveal the Sundanese (West Javanese) roots of their repertoire: kecapi (zither), suling (long, six-hole Bamboo flute). Mixed in are bonang (small melodic gong-kettles), kendang (two-sided hand drum) and classical guitar by third member Jeroen Sep and of course vocals, since it’s a song-orientated repertory.

The basic repertoire comes from West Java. With songs like ‘Pras Pris’, ‘Bandung’, ‘Es Lilin’ and of course ‘Kalangkang’ the ensemble conjures up a dream image of Sunda. Also songs from Central Java (‘Walang Kekek’, ‘Lesung jumengglung’, ‘Kangen’) are played. The musical style of the ensemble shows influences of Tembang Sunda, Degung Kawih and Tarling. A light sound, accessible melodies, serene moods. It evokes the gentle and elegant atmosphere of Sunda and works both as background music as well as concert style performance. In the presentation we can give explanation about the songs and the lyrics.

Kalangkang has released the album ‘Rambut Panjang’. Listen on the downloadpage.

Eté Parfait

Eté parfait is a duo consisting of Renadi Santoso (guitar, vocals) and Jessica Polak (flutes, vocals). Both have a strong background in folk and mediaeval/renaissance music, so that’s what’s on offer here. But as in the other groups mentioned on this page, they melt and mingle styles and give their very own touch to songs like ‘Het regende zeer’, ‘Sja Sjtil’, ‘Foggy Dew’ or ‘Tres Hermanicas’. Original compositions by the group in the same vein are also part of the repertoire. An interesting package would be Kalangkang and Eté Parfait combined, because of the comparable instrumental formats (strings, flutes and vocals).

Eté Parfait has released the album ‘Eté Parfait’. Listen on the downloadpage.