April 25, 2018


Support the future of Indonesian jazz by heading down to Denpasar on April 29 and 30 – April 30 is International Jazz Day – to the Youth Jazz Band Competition sponsored by Ubud Village Jazz Festival.

All the groups must contain three or more musicians – instrumental or vocal – aged between 12 and 25 years, who are not already signed up with a recording company. The winning group will perform alongside the festival’s amazing line-up of international and Indonesian jazz stars in August 2018, and get a professional recording session for a single track at Antida Music Studio.

You’ll find the World Jazz Day competition at Colony Creative Hub at Plaza Renon, Jl Raya Puputan Niti Mandala in Denpasar, starting from 3pm on April 29, and continuing all day and evening on April 30. Info on Facebook. Put the Ubud Village Jazz Festival in your diary: After five successful years, the local-community-based event is back for its sixth edition, August 10 & 11th at The Arma Museum Garden, with the theme Freedom Of Expression. Early bird tickets available until June 30, 2018. www.ubudvillagejazzfestival.com/tickets



Music and event venue Betel Nut is rocking, with cool performances back to back in the first week of May. USA multi-instrumentalist, Haji Basim returns to BetelNut on May 1 after a knock-out solo performance there last year, with the hard-touring Australian world music fusion group Dubarray on stage the following night. Fresh from the BaliSpirit Festival, Haji Basim is award winning, passionate and charismatic, mixing folk, devotional, and world music on guitar, banjo, ukulele and sitar. A singer-songwriter, he calls his refreshing, upbeat music Urban Folk – it’s somewhere between the intimacy of Trevor Hall and the sensuality of Xavier Rudd.

One of Australia’s hardest travelling outfits, world music fusion act Dubarray, kicked off the journey in Europe five years ago, building solid foundations with a busy live touring schedule. Known for high-energy festival appearances, the band has released three albums and four singles so far, returning to tour Europe four times.

Haji Basim solo show; Tuesday May 1, 8pm; entrance: Rp100k.

Dubarray Live Performance; May 2, 8pm; entrance: Rp100k.




We’ve written before about Taksu Gallery’s tenacious efforts to bring together performers and artists from all over the region for the very first Indigenous Celebration ever held in Ubud. It has been a mammoth undertaking, including lots of fundraising to pay for airfares and accommodation for these big groups, who often come from very poor communities. The event is finally happening at Arma Gallery in Ubud from May 11-13.

We’ll be mesmerised I know, by these incredible artists who are flying in from all over Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia. Bring your camera to capture their costumes and the energy of their traditional dance forms.

You can find the full schedule of indigenous artists, musicians and dancers at www.indigenouscelebration.art/schedule.



No better way to spend Mother’s Day this year than to join our own CNN International Hero of the Year, Robin Lim, at Bridges Restaurant on Jalan Raya Ubud, and help her raise money for her world-respected non-profit.

The Bridges’ Foundation Bumi Sehat event has become a cherished tradition, taking place for the eighth year in a row on Sunday May 18 from 11am till 3pm. Chef Wayan Sukarta offers a delicious sharing brunch and we will toast the mothers with cocktails, mocktails and great wines, entertained by the classical guitar music of Tatang Nofrizal, in the restaurant’s beautiful riverside dining room overlooking gorgeous views of the green jungle and the old Campuan bridge.

Ibu Robin Lim is known for her relentless efforts to provide better health care for disadvantaged pregnant women and to enable natural births and childcare in Bali and Aceh, and also abroad when natural disasters strike. Bumi Sehat was strongly involved in providing and coordinating help for the evacuation camps in Bali caused by the recent Mount Agung eruption. Bridges donates a percentage of proceeds from this event to the foundation. For more info: www.bumisehatfoundation.org, and www.bridgesbali.com/events.



Here’s a very safe option for women travellers – and a spectacularly good idea – an organisation of professional Bali drivers who are women.Once you’ve been in Bali a while, you get to know a range of excellent professional drivers, and with most of them I feel “safe as houses”, but this would have been very reassuring on my first trip!

And Balinese women have very few ways to make a good, independent living for themselves. These women drive safely and have great sightseeing suggestions. So congratulations to Bu Wiwix Antari and the others in this newly formed organisation. More info, including some great reviews, on Facebook at BaliWomanDrivers.



So excited to take part in the sold-out TEDxUbud, meeting and listening to the everyday heroes who will take the stage on May 5 to talk about pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo as they explore this year’s theme: Seen/Unseen. It’s an extraordinary event, with inspiration from speakers and performers, delicious food, and hundreds of curious minds to spark exciting conversations.

Just two of the speakers – Angga Dwi Martha, UN Youth Advisor for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Indonesia, who holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Indonesia, focusing on Youth Policy in Southeast Asia, and anthropologist Dr. Kelli Swazey, researching the big, raucous funeral ceremonies that are at the centre of social life in Tana Toraja – as she explores a culture that cares for the bodies of dead relatives years after they have passed away, teaching that relationships with loved ones don’t simply end when breathing does.


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