Courtesy of @david89zemun
A vast majority of the top guitar players today all originate from the USA or Europe. But what many sometimes might overlook is the fact that there are guitar lovers all around the globe, from various different cultures, honoring our favorite instrument. That can especially be interesting if these musicians combine the best of two worlds and create new unique music. Now, why don’t we check out some of the best guitar players from Indonesia?
And why not start this list with a younger player? Akbar Ajie, the winner of Ibanez Flying Fingers Indonesia 2017, is a god damn virtuoso. Might not be as big and famous as some other players from this list, but is someone who deserves our attention.
Parlin Burman Siburian, also simply known as Pay, is a member of an Indonesian band BIP and an ex-member of Slank. Getting a bit more into his work, expect to hear a lot tasteful and soft playing, with obvious Jeff Beck influences. The guy sure knows how to use that whammy bar.
Aside from being a great guitar player, Pay also composed the official song for the 2018 Asian Games, called “Meraih Bintang.”
Aria ‘Baron’ Suprayogi
Aria Suprayogi, also known as Baron, was a guitar player of /rif (yeah, that’s the actual name of the band) and Gigi (or “Teeth” in English). With Gigi, he recorded two very successful albums, “Angan” in 1994 and “Dunia” in 1995. Right after the release of the second album, Baron left the band and went to the United States where he continued his education.
Upon returning to Indonesia, he formed what would become his own Baron Band. After seeing Arch Enemy in the US, Baron was inspired to incorporate more metal into his music.
Anak Agung Gede is multi-instrumental, (@anakagunggde) shredding on both the electric and the bass. He is prominent in the Indonesian metal scene and lets his guitar do the talking. He is currently part of Indonesian cryptid-themed deathcore band Makhlvk.
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I Wayan Balawan
Going more into the jazz fusion genre, next up we have I Wayan Balawan. Known for his use of dual neck guitars and the 8-finger tapping, he’s been working with his band Batuan Ethnic Fusion since 1997. It’s rather interesting to hear how they combine Balinese gamelan music with jazz and rock.
But he’s also been focused on his solo career and has four albums under his belt. The dual neck guitar he uses was made by Tommy Kaihatu.
Now, this is where things get really groovy. Muhammad Gunawan, known under his nickname Gugun, is one of the most talented musicians in Indonesia. He and his band Gugun Blues Shelter have gained popularity even outside of Asia, and are also known in the US and UK. They’ve released 11 albums so far.
Inspired by the old stuff like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when he was a kid, in his teenage years, Gugun went into blues and heavy metal territories.
Dewa Gede Budjana
We’ve already mentioned Gigi, the famous Indonesian band where Mr. Baron used to play. Dewa Budjana is the lead guitar player and one of the founding members of the group. But aside from that, Dewa began exploring jazz after being inspired by musicians like John McLaughlin, Chick Korea, and Pat Metheny and their influences can clearly be heard in his music. He’s one of the country’s most prolific musicians with around 30 studio albums behind him.
We also got the chance to hear him do a song with a surprising combination of Jordan Rudess, Marco Minnemann, Mohini Deym, and John Frusciante.
Born in Malang back in 1950, Jusuf Antono Djojo became known as one of Indonesia’s most famous musicians. He’s a guitar player of God Bless, one of the longest lasting rock bands in that part of the world. He’s also known for his other band Gong 2000 which, the same as I Wayan Balawan does, incorporates elements of Balinese music.
His legacy is obvious with the project called A Tribute To Ian Antono where numerous younger musicians did covers of his songs.