Boi Akih

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Boi Akih
OriginAmsterdam, Netherlands
GenresWorld, jazz, Indian classical, classical, folk, Moluccas traditions, Sunda traditions, Bali traditions, improvisation
Years active1997–present
LabelsEnja, EMI
Associated actsErnst Reijseger, Sean Bergin
MembersMonica Akihary, Niels Brouwer, Sandip Bhattachraya, Wolter Wierbos, Kim Weemhoff

Boi Akih is a jazz/world music trio based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, composed of Monica Akihary on vocals, Niels Brouwer on guitar and prepared guitar, and Sandip Bhattachraya on tabla and percussion.[1]

The group fuses musical traditions from the Molucca Islands, Bali, Dutch jazz, improvised music, Indian classical music, and traditional African music. Initially started as a duo, the music is written by Brouwer and the lyrics are written by Brouwer and Akihary.

Training and study[edit]

Sandip Bhattachraya, studied with Pandit Ishwar Lal Misra, in the style of the legendary tabla maestro Pandit Anokhelal Misra and has performed with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Prabha Atre, Lakshmi Shankar, Shujaat Hussain Khan, Ustad Munawar Ali Khan, Tarun Bhattacharya, and many others. Niels Brouwer studied at the Hilversums Conservatorium, now the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Monica Akihary is a graduate of visual arts studies in Amsterdam and Yogyakarta (Akademi Seni Rupa). Both studied classical Indian music in Bangalore (2002) and Mumbai (2004).

Linguistic importance[edit]

One of the unique aspects of Boi Akih is found in Monica Akihary’s lyrics. She writes and sings in her father’s native language, which has been regarded as moribund by the scientific world. Since 1998 Brouwer and Akihary have been working with Dutch and Australian linguists who study Haruku language.[2] With their help and support, Boi Akih not only keeps the tradition of the Langzame alive, but also employs the language in its most authentic form, poetic self-expression.


Boi Akih has collaborated with Michael Vatcher, Ernst Reijseger, Ernst Glerum, Owen Hart Jr., Sean Bergin and Wolter Wierbos.

Recent projects[edit]

During their Indonesian tour last September, Monica and Niels met the gamelan virtuoso I Made Subandi, who lives in Gianyar, Bali. They invited I Made Subandi to play the chromatic gamelan in a line-up with voice, guitar, saxophone/clarinet, bass and drums. The project, Philosophy of Love, premiered in 2010. A live performance in Beijing will take place on September 3, 2010 at the Star Live Music Hall.

Touring and performing[edit]

Boi Akih spends most of their time performing in the European Union, playing at such notable venues as: Berlin Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz,[3] Kaunas Jazz Festival, and Bimhuis.[4] They have also appeared on diverse radio and TV programs, such as: VPRO, France2, Radio France, The BBC, ORF, and RTL4.

Critical response[edit]

  • ‘Boi Akih is a very convincing live act. Tabla player Sandip Bhattacharya, vocalist Monica Akihary and guitarist Niels Brouwer bring to life the intimacy of the songs. The gripping and fresh musical interaction, with Akihary singing partly in Haruku, the acoustic created sounds, melodies and rhythm of Niels Brouwer and the tabla enraptured us.’ (Jazzthetik 10 D)
  • 'An extraordinary project, based on songs from the Moluccas wrapped up in arrangements that move between jazz and free chamber music.' (ORF/GlattundVerkehrt, 2007)


  • 1997 Boi Akih (Invitation/EMI, 1997)
  • 2000 Above the Clouds, Among the Roots (A-Records, 2000)
  • 2003 Uwa i (Enja, 2004)
  • 2005 Lagu Lagu (boiakih, 2005)
  • 2007 Yalelol (Enja, 2007)[5]
  • 2012 Circles in a Square Society


  1. ^ "Ton's Musical Musings: Boi Akih at the Bimhuis | Exchange". Ode Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  2. ^ "Boi Akih - Winternachten - internationaal literatuurfestival Den Haag". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  3. ^ "Boi Akih North Sea Jazz". Retrieved 2010-07-29.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Boi Akih Bimhuis". Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  5. ^ "Boi Akih - Yalelol". enja Records. 2008-05-11. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2010-07-28.

External links[edit]