You might not think Tokyo as the melting of humanity that is New York, London, or Sydney, but if this city’s population is any reflection whatsoever of the diversity of my circle of friends, which I think it HAS to be, particularly if you count all the people regularly and now repeatedly year-after-year coming through, I’m convinced very much that, at least if you go a layer deeper, Tokyo is one of the most international cities in the world. Scoff at that if you must, and yes, I admit that may be statistically highly inaccurate, but that’s my perspective. That’s how it feels to me, and often the reason I’m pinching myself when I think about how lucky I’ve been to have a truly international circle of friends. It’s just awesome.

One corner of the globe that I have seen reflected more and more in my community is Indonesia. Over the last 2 or 3 years, suddenly all these Indonesians have appeared in my life, all through different avenues including photography, architecture, fashion, food, and music, and, gosh, I’ve really come to love and appreciate them all. I don’t mean to caricature-ize them, but the overwhelming kindness and exuberance for creative expression that seems to keep shining through my growing circle of Indonesian homies has really captured my imagination and attention and I really want to know them more and dig deeper into the culture (and music). I’ve been to Indonesia once, but as I’m writing this now (and listening to Gamelan), and remembering my short but magical time there, it’s calling me back. If I could hop on a plane right now…

Sorry for the tangent… let me get to my next Tokyo Record Style subject, Fani Atmandi, who yes, hails from Indonesia but who has lived in Japan for nearly as long as me. She is an architect, designer, artist, and author who has a strong focus in World Heritage Studies having studied for her doctorate at University of Tsukuba. I became aware of her research through a talk she gave about her work on Nias Island off of Northern Sumatra where the indigenous people still employ their ancient and unique architectural knowledge (amazing elevated, steep-roofed villages on stilts that respond to the elements) that lends stunning and awe-inspiring aesthetics for modern lifestyle and design, including some of Fani’s creations, whether those be for her beautiful and original silver jewelry design (Tremendum) or her fashion designs (Omo), or for her literary pursuits, including her book, “Structural Genius: Bawömataluo Village, Nias Island.”

Oh yeah, and Fani is a music lover and record-collector too (not to mention film photographer too, and styley fashionista as you can see from her digs). I was really happy that she joined the gang of record-loving homies at Garageville last month for Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 8 (more female record-collectors, join us please!) We all mixed it up together and talked about all kinds of music, including some from Indonesia. On this day, not only did she score Sarah Vaughan’s 1955 jazz classic with Clifford Brown and a Jazz Juice compilation that contained among others, Lou Rawls’ version of “The Girl From Ipanema” (to give you a taste of Fani’s music sensibilities), she also managed to serendipitously find “Javanese Court Gamelan From The Pura Paku Alaman” by K.R.T. Wasitodipuro, one of the Javanese Gamelan’s most highly respected performers and composers (a recording I have been wholeheartedly enjoying in the early sunrise hours of the morning as I write this.)

“In Indonesia my family collected many cassettes and my mom introduced me to some Indonesian Jazz and Bossa Nova songs from Margie Segers and Ermy Kullit. Since then I have followed her tastes in music. When I moved to Osaka back in 2009, I went into some record shops (Raregroove Osaka and Meditation Kyoto are two of my favorites) and fell in love with the sound of vinyl. That’s when I bought my first records. Of course, I love the sound quality and signature from records but I also love the visual and conceptual designs of the albums.

Thanks, Fani for being a part of Tokyo Record Style and sharing so much about your projects, your background and interests (and cool fashion)! I hope you’ll join TRS Day again some time, and until then … see you at the record store …or in Indonesia!

More Tokyo Record Style on the way!

K.R.T. Wasitodipuro – Javanese Court Gamelan From The Pura Paku Alaman, Jogyakarta = ジャワの宮廷ガムラン1
Label: Nonesuch – WPCS-5205
Series: ノンサッチ民族音楽シリーズ – 5, Explorer Series
Format: CD, Album, Reissue
Country: Japan
Released: Nov 15, 1997
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Gamelan

Sarah Vaughan – Sarah Vaughan
Label: EmArcy – BT-1324
Series: 不滅のクリフォード・ブラウン・コレクション – 4
Format: Vinyl, LP, Mono
Country: Japan
Released: 1974
Genre: Jazz
Style: Soul-Jazz

Various – Jazz Juice Vol. 4
Label: Street Sounds (3) – JZJ-104
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 33 ⅓ RPM, Compilation, Unofficial Release
Country: UK
Genre: Funk / Soul, Jazz, Latin
Style: Acid Jazz

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