Peni Candra Rini

In July 2024, Peni Candra Rini (she/her), the Indonesian composer and performer whose musical practice encompasses a wide range of traditional and experimental Javanese styles, will release her new album Wulansih via New Amsterdam Records.

Kronos Quartet’s David Harrington, a frequent collaborator of Rini, recently called her “one of the world’s greatest singers”, and on Wulansih she places her voice in conversation with a wide array of experimental and traditional musicians, including Andy McGraw, Lester St. Louis, Shahzad Ismaily, John Priestley, Curt Sydnor, and many others. Produced by Ismaily at New York’s Figure 8 Recording, Wulansih creates a world all its own.

The 8 songs on Wulansih exert a deep sense of spiritual calm and act as, in Rini’s words, “a reminder that you are still human, listening to expressions of other humans.” Her music is deeply inspired by the poetry of Rumi and Hafez, Wayang Kulit (Indonesian shadow play), and Serat, the tradition of Sufi thought in Central Javanese court poetry. Rini says that Wulansih aims to “express my inner feelings, my soul, to provide inspiration to younger Indonesian composers, and to introduce Indonesian new compositions to new global audiences.”


1. Female composer, educator, performer of experimental and traditional Javanese (Indonesian) music.

2. Has worked with Kronos quartet and many other leading performers on world stages including Carnegie Hall, Barbican, Zellerbach, etc.

3. Aga Khan Music Laureate, Fulbright, Asia Society, Asian Cultural Council, US State Department, Indonesian Department of Culture grantee.

1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Javanese traditional music (gamelan) and poetry (sastra / serat).

2. How and when did you get into making music?

When I was 4 years old, taught by my father, a musician, fisherman, and shadow master.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

1) Nonesuch Explorer: Javanese Gamelan
2) Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson: Landfall
3) Meredith Monk: Dolmen Music
4) Rahayu Supanggah: New Music Indonesia on Gamelan
5) I Made Subandi: Gamelan Cage

4. What do you associate with Berlin?


5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Haus des Rundfunks (I’ve performed there)

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?


7. What was the last record/music you bought or listen?

I am surrounded by music in my community all the time. The last music I heard today was our neighborhood keroncong (Javanese stringband) group.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Anoushka Shankar

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Carnegie Hall, with Kronos, in November 2023.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

It isn’t.

Please tell us a little bit about your new album Wulansih?

It is about love and it is about being a human, with other humans, in a time that is becoming less human.