Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Indian, Indonesian music adapts well to the desert

Citizen Staff Writer
Music

DANIEL BUCKLEY

dbuckley@tucsoncitizen.com

Somehow when you’re thinking cactus country, the idea of music from India and/or Indonesia doesn’t jump immediately to mind. But thanks to local bamboo wrangler Matt Finstrom, both Eastern cultures bloom in the desert.

Finstrom is a master at sitar and tables and his wife, Holly, has accompanied Ravi Shankar in concert. He formed his Indian group, Sruti, well over two decades back. Personnel have come and gone as members of the East Indian community migrate in and out of Tucson. But a consistently high level of music-making has been maintained through the years.

The same might be said of the group that sprang from Finstrom’s passion for Indonesian music, the Fine Stream Gamelan. The gamelan orchestra is a percussion-dominated ensemble characterized by the shimmering sounds of is multisized, mainly metallic instruments, resembling kettles, xylophones, and huge, dark-sounding gongs. In the early days, Finstrom built all the instruments. Over the years the group’s performances brought in enough money to import Indonesian originals, including the rebab – a nasal sounding folk fiddle common to the music. In addition, Finstrom has built a bamboo set of instruments replicating those of rural Indonesian traditions.

By nature, the large numbers of people required to play music from each of these disparate cultures means public performances are few and far between. But a cluster of free performances lies just ahead. At 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, both Sruti and the Fine Stream Gamelan will join the Summer Thunder Chinese Music Ensemble and the Flam Chen Dancers at Crowder Hall in the Music Building as part of World Music Day at UA. If you miss them then, or are just so enthralled you need more, you can get another fix of the Fine Stream Gamelan and Flam Chen as they participate in the All Souls Procession on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., starting at the Epic Café, at University Boulevard and North Fourth Avenue. Finstrom has composed original music for that occasion. For more information, go to www.bambooranch.net, members.cox.net/srutimusic and www.gamelanaz.com. To see Sruti and Fine Stream Gamelan online, go to www.tucsoncitizen.com.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service