Controlling the Swing

– a composition about love-hate, commissioned by the Holland Festival. Controlling the Swing is about contrasts. Seemingly incompatible musical tonalities such as those of Indonesia and Europe come together in one composition

Love and hate are ultimately two extremes of the same phenomenon and that’s why they can flow into each other. Controlling the Swing begins as a confrontation between traditional and contemporary music, acoustic sounds and electronic noise, wood and metal, timeless wide horizons and nervous improvisations, but in the course of the composition the styles, sounds and moods that at first seemed incompatible, melt into one. In love and in hate energy is compressed and seeks an outlet. Controlling the Swing will reflect that energy with a lot of changes in dynamic, tempo and rhythm.

One of the leading poets of today is Rudi Fofid (Ambon-Stad). He received the Maarif Award 2016, an important Indonesian peace prize, for his contribution to reconciliation between Muslims and Christians after the civil war in the Moluccas (1999 – 2011). Rudi Fofid will write seven poems, which will form the starting point for Brouwer’s compositions and serve as song texts.The texts are in Indonesian/English/Haruku.

review excerpts

Controlling the Swing
One of the highlights of the jubilee edition was the world premiere of Controlling The Swing through the formation BOI AKIH, as part of ‘A Night in Indonesia’ on June 16 in Paradiso. This new composition of guitarist Niels Brouwer was performed by the duo BOI AKIH with Ryoko Imai (Marimba, Percussion), Tobias Klein (bass clarinet, contra bass clarinet and guest musicians from Indonesia, including the Moluccan ( Ambon City) poet and peace activist Rudi Fofid.

Full dedication
The relationship between love and hatred is central to Controlling The Swing. Impressively, traditional and contemporary music, acoustic and electronic, was melting together in the packed Small Hall of Paradiso, where the sweat was on the backs of the visitors, so hot it was. Rarely did I hear Monica Akihary singing so well – pitch perfect and full dedication. Her partner Niels Brouwer and the other accompanists brought out the best in each other. The thunderous applause at the end was therefore perfectly correct. by Bas Springer, mixedworldmusic.com July 2017


Monica Akihary: voice
Niels Brouwer: guitars, electronica
Ryoko Imai: marimba, percussion
Tobias Kleine:bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet
I Made Subandi: gender, gendang, bamboo flute, voice
Indra Menus: noise
Rudy Fofid: performer.

Julio Hernandez – sound engineer
Gé Wegman – light ( light designer)
Martijn Grootendorst , light, video projection

Composition: Niels Brouwer
Poems: Rudi Fofid