Hello, we're Orkes Manohara. We play traditional and experimental music, mostly from Java, Indonesia. Right now we're creating a project called "Wanitani: Songs for the Women of Gerwani." Wanitani is essentially a musical storytelling of Gerwani, the former women's rights organization. We are going to travel to Java, research and compose music, and then return to the U.S. to perform our music for audiences in the Pacific Northwest.
About GerwaniGerwani (short for Gerakan Wanita Indonesia, literally "movement women Indonesia") was a women's rights organization active during the 1950's and 60's. Consisting of women activists, scholars and artists from all over Indonesia, Gerwani fought for equal marriage, property and education laws with much success. During the presidency of corrupt Suharto, however, came a merciless red scare, which President Suharto used to blacklist any organization or individual that displeased him. Gerwani was accused of being a Communist organization and its members framed for the murder and castration of six generals from the Indonesian military. The organization was literally dissolved. Any known members were kidnapped and tortured, held in prison for years. Some were murdered.
The main leaders of Gerwani were kept alive in prison until President Suharto fell out of power. Some are still living, and make their home in a senior center for former political prisoners of war.
What are we doing?
Orkes Manohara wants to tell the stories of these women through performances of original music. We need to:
*travel to Java
*meet and interview the surviving members of Gerwani
*compose beautiful music based on their stories
*return to the U.S.
*perform our music for audiences in the Northwest
Should I mention that we have a toddler?
Are we crazy?
Our project is a big undertaking! The airfare to Java alone is around $4,000; travel expenses such as room and board will run around $1,000, recording equipment (camera, microphones, editing software) around $1,000-1,500...and then there are the performance expenses once we are back! Space rentals, advertising, set materials...that's another $1,000 right there. Keep in mind, these are extremely conservative estimates.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Our dream is to create hauntingly beautiful songs that will honor the struggle of Gerwani, and the women that dedicated their lives to the fight for equality. We simply cannot do this without your help. Any amount will help us get closer to our goal, and will allow you to be a part of this creative process. Your support is part of the creation!