Born: August 30, 1963 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Guitarist, composer and producer Dewa Budjana (pronounce Dèh-wah Boo-djana) was born on 30 August 1963, in Waikabubak, Bali, Indonesia. (It is an area considered by those who know it to be a tropical paradise.)
Dewa has established a solid body of work as a jazz artist on numerous solo albums (featuring a who's who list of current jazz luminaries), while also being the lead guitarist and songwriter of the Indonesian nationally-celebrated pop/rock band, Gigi. His fluidity and grace in both rock and jazz idioms has firmly established his position among the very elite guitarists in the world, as well, perhaps, as Indonesia's most well-known and highly-regarded guitarist ever.
Dewa’s journey as a musician started at the early age of eleven, when he bought his first guitar. His passion and talent for the instrument was further nurtured when the Balinese native moved to the city of Surabaya. During this period, his tendencies varied from jazz-rock to progressive music — influenced by John McLaughlin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes, Gentle Giant, ELP; and later by Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Bill Frissell, Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny and Weather Report, as Dewa became steadily more drawn to jazz.
Both Dewa’s intrepid experimentations — blending jazz with traditional sounds — and his hunger to pursue his gift were evident early on in his career. Upon graduation, Dewa aggressively pursued his dreams, making the decision to relocate to Jakarta, to further his musical ambitions and embark on a career. While there, Dewa met and tutored under Indonesian jazz legend, Jack Lesmana, who introduced him to the principles and basics of jazz.
It was Jack Lesmana’s son, Indra, who suggested to Dewa that he should become a session player. This period was the beginning of his first professional performances. It was a time which saw him become very busy, where Dewa was featured on Isbandi in Telerama — a popular musical show broadcasted regularly on national TV.
Dewa Budjana first earned international fame and celebrity as the founding member of Gigi, in 1994. The band has released 22 albums to date, firmly establishing Gigi as one of the biggest, most successful pop rock bands in the region.
Dewa is also an accomplished producer, a role which began with the release of his first solo album, Nusa Damai, in 1997, and continued with guitarist Balawan’s album Globalism, the following year.
The common thread connecting his body of solo works is the merging of multiple musical elements: incorporating jazz, pop, rock and traditional sounds, producing music that is personal and intimate in its delivery, yet universal in its appeal.
With the release of his solo fifth album, Dawai in Paradise, Dewa introduces new compositions and visits earlier ones, all in contemplation of his musical journey thus far. This album includes collaborations with Grammy-winning artists drummer Peter Erskine and multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy, the renowned Indonesian jazz keyboardist and producer, Indra Lesmana, his Indonesian contemporary, celebrated pianist Ade Irawan, and the late legendary jazz bassist, Dave Carpenter, among others.
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