A Poet of the North

By: Hellobali |

It’s been more than a decade since the last time I met I Gde Kurniawan – probably since we graduated college. One of the few of my college mates that (like me) did not end up practicing architecture, Kurniawan had always been hanging around with a guitar for as long as I remember. Upon meeting him by accident in a music festival a couple of months ago, I talked with my old friend about two of his true loves: music and and his hometown Singaraja.

How long have you been into music? How did it start?
I’ve been introduced to music since a very early age because both of my parents are musicians. My father played keyboard in a band, while my mother was a keroncong singer. I think I began to learn to play guitar and perform on stages since as young as fourth or fifth grade. During these years, my family and I formed a band called Buick Project and grew up during my school years, I was actively playing from one band to another.

Then comes the superstardom era of college…
(laughing) I started to write my own songs and music, then just out of curiosity entered a nationwide competition held by a television network in 2004. I won first place and bought music equipment with the prize money – the very same equipment that became the foundation of what is now Demores Rumah Musik. A couple of years later I decided to set up the studio, and it still stands until this very day.

What does “Demores” mean anyway? And why in Singaraja?
I don’t know honestly (laughs). It’s just a random name that popped in my head – sounded cool back then, so I used it. And the reason why it’s in Singaraja, because it’s my hometown. I’ve played music everywhere in the island, you name it. But there’s nothing better than making music at home and jamming in your own studio, man. That’s why after I got married, I decided to return permanently to Singaraja so I can run Demores.

You seem to have big faith for Singaraja’s music scene.
It’s really dynamic (the music scene) there. A lot of talented musicians that tried their luck playing in stages or recording in Denpasar or down south – since that’s where most of the money is. But there are many unpolished ones that haven’t got the confidence to try it. These people are one of the reasons why I opened Demores, to show them that music is a feasible career path. What I am today was built in Denpasar, but coming home to Singaraja is my calling. Introducing the reality of the music industry, supporting fellow musicians and opening paths for those who struggle to have their break.

So what are you up to now?
Other than developing Demores, I’m playing for two bands now. One is called #akebuleleng, where wemake songs in Balinese, and recently I joined The Bodhi, one of Bali’s most prominent reggae fusion band.  

You seem to have everything under control, bro. Any last quote for us?
That’s the thing, despite how music is considered a secondary profession, or how hard it seems for Balinese (especially Singarajan) musicians, it will never stop me from making music for the rest of my life. Live for music, and music for life. That’s balance for me.


Demores Rumah Musik (Demores House of Music)
Jalan Segara Mumbul No.9, Pantai Penimbangan Barat, Buleleng
T: +62 361 849 3706
social handle: @demoresrumahmusik

01 February 2018
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hellobali curates what's the best Bali has to offer from culinary, music and nightlife scene to significant people who live and work for this sunny island.

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