Dwiki Dharmawan is among Indonesia’s most gifted and celebrated music personalities: a multi-genre keyboardist; skilled composer and producer, and; a conscientious peace activist, equally committed to ecological preservation.
With a career spanning over 30 years and performances in over 70 countries, Dwiki remains one of his country’s most popular and respected industry stalwarts; a ‘cultural icon,’ of sorts. Having toured with the widely-acclaimed legendary Indonesian band he co-founded, Krakatau, for more than three decades, as well as with various incarnations of his ‘World Peace’ projects (World Peace Trio; World Peace Band; World Peace Orchestra), Dwiki has made promoting social harmony and raising global consciousness a central focus of his efforts.
Dwiki’s passion for music began at an early age. Growing up in Bandung West Java, his home was situated behind the Bandung Conservatory of Music, where he’d often walk and watch students dancing to Gamelan music.
Dwiki studied classical music for five years before beginning to pursue jazz at the age of 13 — a transition that exposed him to John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Weather Report. The foundation of his playing originates from the ancient Gamelan tonal system: the basis for the traditional music of Sunda, Bali, and Java. (The music of Krakatau adapts Slendro motifs to Western diatonic scales, fusing its rhythms and unique melodies with jazz, rock, and funk structures.)
With such an extensive international performance resumé, Dwiki Dharmawan is well-known and -respected across the globe. That said, his solo career took a huge boost forward when he teamed with MoonJune Records’ Leonardo Pavkovic in 2015, releasing what would be the first of many solo albums to come: “So Far, So Close.” Featuring fusion and progressive rock luminaries, Chad Wackerman, Jimmy Haslip, fellow MoonJune artists and Indonesian giants, Dewa Budjana and Tohpati, and legendary violinist, Jerry Goodman.
2016’s follow-up, “Pasar Klewer,” saw Dwiki joining forces with some of the cream of the burgeoning London jazz scene: Yaron Stavi (bass); Asaf Sirkis (drums); guitarists Nicolas Meier and Mark Wingfield, Boris Savoldelli (vocal and electronics) and; Gilad Atzmon (sax, clarinet). It was a breakthrough release; earning 5-star reviews in the prestigious Downbeat Magazine, and with other well-respected critics, such as All About Jazz.
2018 witnessed Dwiki on the receiving end of yet more critical praise, with the exquisite “Rumah Batu.” Augmented by a stellar cast of players, vastly international in scope — including: the enigmatic French virtuoso, of Vietnamese descent, Nguyên Lê, on guitar; legendary flamenco fretless bassist, Spain’s Carles Benavent; the extraordinary flutist, also from Indonesia, Sa’at Syah; and, once again, the proven progressive backbone of fellow Israeli-born, UK transplants, Yaron Stavi (upright bass) and (supreme drummer) Asaf Sirkis – this landmark recording offers an intimate glimpse into Dwiki’s unparalleled genius as player, arranger and songwriter.
Brimming with adventurous compositions, ingenious arrangements and superlative performances, “Rumah Batu” defies categorization – eclipsing both progressive jazz and world music genres in spellbinding fashion.
Despite a long, storied musical career which has been marked by large-scale successes and critical acclaim, worldwide, Dwiki remains constantly in search of new musical ground. (This mindset will be exemplified in the Spring of 2020, when MoonJune releases Dwiki’s most daring, genre-defying release to date, “Hari Ketiga.”)
Outside of the music arena, his involvement in promoting Indonesian Cultural and Tourism around the world reflects Dwiki’s strong support and undying love for his nation. He has also served as a member of the Jakarta Arts Council.
Despite a busy schedule, Dwiki makes time to sow into others. For years, up-and-coming musicians have witnessed his abiding stewardship at the Farabi Music Education Center; reflecting Dwiki’s empassioned commitment to the musical development of Indonesia’s next generation of budding talent.
(John Mc Guire)