© Agus Setiawan
Krakatau, a gamelan-influenced jazz band, was founded in 1985 in Bandung, West Java, with the return of the bassist Pra Budidharma from Seattle to Indonesia. Here he was part of various jam sessions in Bandung, a city which is famous for his talented musicians. With the well-known guitarist Donny Soehendra, the young piano student Dwiki Dharmawan and the rock drummer Budhy Haryono the KRAKATAU band was complete. At the Yamaha Bands Explosion in Tokyo, they made their international debut and started to work at their first jazz-pop oriented recording, which was released in 1986. During these times, there were different changes in the bandís line-up. For example Indra Lesmana started to be part as the jazz keyboard and Gillian Ramadhan on drums, replacing Budhy Haryono and Trie Utami as vocal. In 1987, they produced their second album, also including lyrics by the musicians. After the third album Kembali Satu the band members tried different ways for a while until 1991, when they got the offer to produce a new album and the band became reunited without Donny Soehendra but again with drummer Budhy Haryono. After the Jakarta Jazz Festival in 1993, the band changed from jazz-pop to traditional Indonesian music with the tradition of West Java. KRAKATAU is unique in that their instruments are all specially tuned to Sílendro, a pentatonic scale used in Indonesian traditional music. Now they combine Western and Indonesian instruments, and even integrate rap into their music. The first album in this way was called Mystical Mist and was released in 1994. For this release they also worked with Sundanese percussion virtuoso Adhe Rudhiana and multi-instrumentalist Yoyon Dharsono. The also used the help of three gamelan and percussion players from the college of Karawitan to develop the KRAKATAU sound. They have performed in Indonesia, Japan, China, and Malaysia, and released eight commercial recordings.