Yanuar Dwi Sarjono

Having a melodious voice and the upbringing of her father, the singer from Ngentrong Village is now an idol for young people exploring traditional arts, especially Javanese traditional songs.

It is as if the artistic energy of this young woman has never been depleted. Her popularity as a young sinden—singer of traditional songs—has not stopped her in developing her vocal skills in Javanese songs. She develops her reliable voice skills to get through the world of composers—a rare field for Indonesian women. Peni Candra Rini, the 28 year-old girl, has become an idol of young music activists developing traditional arts. Peni was born in Ngentrong, a village of fish farms, in Campurdarat, Tulungagung, East Java, on August 22, 1983. Her predecessors had provided Peni with outstanding artistic talent.

Fruits fall close to the tree. Perhaps it is the most precise expression for her. Blood of art is flowing from her great-grandfather, Seran, a gender-player—gamelan instrument—once famous in her village.

Her father, Ki Wagiman Gandha Carita, is a puppeteer well known throughout Tulungagung, and surrounding areas. It was her father, who always introduced little Peni to hints of art. Returning from school, her father always trained Peni to nembang (singing), starting from the simplest skill to the gregel and wiledan, which were relatively harder. The father also kept teaching the gamelan knowledge to Peni, preparing her daughter to proficiently play a number of Javanese gamelan instruments.

The public had already acknowledged her vocal quality while she was still in the secondary school (SMP). She always joined as a sinden when her father received an invitation to mayang (performing shadow puppet shows). Her skills in nyinden—singing—got more sophisticated, when she graduated from junior high school and moved from Tulungagung to the city of Solo, Central Java, to continue the study at the Indonesian Secondary School of Karawitan (SMKI) Solo. In this city, Peni received more invitations to nyinden.

The title of a famous young sinden was quickly associated with Peni. “I used to went from village to village, from one celebration to another to sing. At that time, my objective was only for economic reasons,” said Peni Candra Rini when met at her home in Kenthingan area, Jebres, Solo, Central Java. (Iyan DS)

— Full article is available on Majalah Warisan Indonesia Vol.01 No.10 —

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