Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Monica sings from her cultural roots

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 12/03/2008 7:51 AM | People

MONICA AKIHARY: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)MONICA AKIHARY: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

JAKARTA: Lead singer of the Amsterdam-based group Boi Akih, Monica Akihary, said she sings almost exclusively in her father’s native language, Harukunese, because it is one of the most perfect languages to sing.

“This language is the perfect language for the singer because it has open vowels, which is good ... for melodies and also for improvisation. It’s a really beautiful language,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the JakJazz festival over the weekend.

In Harukunese, the language spoken on the Indonesian island of Haruku, in Maluku, Boi Akih means “Princess Akih”.

“Before we started Boi Akih, we listened to a lot of music from Africa. I didn’t understand the words but I really loved the African music. Then Niels (Niels Brouwer, Boi Akih’s guitarist) suggested I sing in my father’s language,” she said.

She added she often asked for her father’s help when writing song lyrics, because she barely understood the language.

“I grew up with Moluccan Malaysian and Bahasa Indonesia, not with Harukunese,” said the woman who studied sculpture at the Indonesian Arts Institute in Yogyakarta from 1989 to 1990.

“We perform a lot in Europe and also in Africa, and I have to say people don’t understand the words but they really love the atmosphere of our music,” said Monica. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh.

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