Petrus Kaseke

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Petrus Kaseke (born in Ratahan Minahasa, North Sulawesi, October 2, 1942; age 74 years) is an Indonesian craftsman specializing in kolintang, a traditional Indonesian musical instrument. By the time he was 10 years old (1952), he was able to create kolintang with 2.5 octave diatonic tones. By 1960 he could create scales of up to three and a half octaves.


Kolintang, which is a traditional folk instrument played in Minahasa, had been banned during the Dutch colonial period, as they were traditionally used to accompany ritual worship of ancestors by the local community. Over a century, the existence of kolintang became increasingly rarer to the point that they became virtually extinct. Just after World War II, around 1952, a blind musician named Nelwan Katuuk[1] brought this musical instrument back on musical performances broadcast via RRI Minahasa.

These Kolintang performances from Nelwan Katuuk inspired Kaseke to learn to create kolintang, guided in the craft by his grandfather.

Early life[edit]

Kaseke is the only son of Pastor Johanes Kaseke and Adelina Komalig. Although he came from a poor family, at the age of 20, Petrus was awarded a scholarship from the Bupati Minahasa to pursue graduate studies in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Gadjah Mada. However, after the decrease in the number of scholarships awarded from Bupati Minahasa, Petrus was forced to survive by playing kolintang music in Yogyakarta.


Earning his baccalaureate after six years, Peter was then forced to discontinue his studies, which turned his attention to creating kolintang musical instruments.

At that time kolintang was not widely known in Java. Unexpectedly, the public response to shows featuring kolintang, accompanied by guitar, ukulele and bass strings, turned out to be enthusiastic. After kolintang was used in a media campaign from the Indonesian Christian Party (Parkindo), Kaseke and his colleagues received more jobs playing kolintang music .

Kaseke continued work on his kolintang business, as well as being part of a musical group which performed both nationally and internally. He then decided to move to Salatiga, where raw materials such as hibiscus wood, which is found around Lake Rawapening, were readily available, and built his business with his wife, Tjio Kioe Giok.

From 1989 to the 1990s, demand for kolintang increased. Kaseke's shop employed about 20 carpenters and was able to serve orders of up to 10 sets of Kolintang, from countries such as Australia, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Many Indonesian embassies around the world began owning kolintang musical instruments.

The era of financial crisis in the late 1990s marked a decline in the kolintang industry. Kaseke's business survived, despite decreased orders of just around 1-2 sets per month.[2]

Overseas performances[edit]

  • 1970 - 3 day tour in Singapore.
  • 1971 - 3 month Australian tour, visiting over 50 cities, including Canberra, together with Indonesian Ambassador for Australia, Sujitno Sukirno.
  • 1972 - performing in several cities in New York and Los Angeles, United States.
  • 1973 - European tour including Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, together with the Indonesian ambassador for the Netherlands, Sutopo Yuwono.


  1. ^ Parengkuan, Fendy E. W. (1984). Nelwan Katuuk dan seni musik kolintang Minahasa. Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Direktorat Sejarah dan Nilai Tradisional, Proyek Inventarisasi dan Dokumentasi Sejarah Nasional. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  2. ^ Si Dudut, diakses 6 Februari 2015

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