Fresh off their Northern Ireland tour, the dynamic Kunokini wowed the crowd at the UK/ID Kick-Off Gig with a lively and bewitching performance. For UK/ID Festival, they were supported by a handful of musicians and backing vocalists as well as a DJ, who provided a beguiling techno jolt to the group’s organic sound in the middle of set.
“We set the stage on fire,” joked Bhismo during a post-performance chat. It was no boasting on his part: between jazzing up Indonesian folk songs and showcasing their original songs that run the gamut from strummy, bossanova-like excursions to reggae-inflected jams, the band had the festival goers at the palm of their hand. “The people were very nice and the sound was good,” he claimed.
A certain someone was missing, however. Northern Irish singer-songwriter DANI, whom the band toured and collaborated with earlier this year, was supposed to join the set, but had to withdraw due to illness. Despite this, Bhismo only sang praises to the missing collaborator.
“It was a great experience working with DANI. Musically, we felt a connection between what she did and what we did, from the instruments, the rhythm, the beat and the tempo. We didn’t have to work so hard [to achieve the connection]. It was just a match,”
Bhismo - Kunokini
He also said to have felt a similar type of kinship with other Irish people he encountered during Kunokini’s visit to Northern Ireland. “They are very nice, open and giving people, just like Indonesians,” he commented, before sharing an anecdote about the one time he and Astari Achiel (Bebi) got lost in Belfast and ended up having a group of locals walk them to their destination. “It was crazy,” he recounted. “But very nice.”
‘Very nice’ is also how he described the band’s other collaboration. “We love that our partnership with British Council has been going on for two years now. It’s allowed us to collaborate with DANI and go to Northern Ireland for a month to perform in festivals and do workshops. While we were there, we did radio interviews, got written in a magazine and went on a TV programme. We felt blessed,” he enthused.
Bhismo also confirmed that the band is currently prepping up its next album and teased a possible joint album with DANI for next year. In the meantime, the song they wrote with DANI is set to be released as a single, with its music video to follow, during the final stretch of the year. “You will hear how awesome it is!” he declared, and it’s safe to say that this time around he was not joking.