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The Little Gayo Singer

Ceh Kucak Gayo

Director, Script: Nan Triveni Achnas
Photography: Winaldha Melalatoa
Editing: Sentot Sahid
Music: Tina Sylvana
Sound: Jun Mahir
Appearance: Kabri Wali
Producer: Mira Lesmana,Garin Nugroho
Production Company, Source: Miles Productions
Jalan Pelita 18, Cipete Utara, Jakarta Selatan 12150 INDONESIA
Phone: 62-21-7207341 / Fax: 62-21-7226569
INDONESIA / 1995 / Indonesian / Color / Video /24 min

Nan Triveni Achnas

Graduated from the Film and TV Faculty, Jakarta Institute of the Arts, majoring in directing. Her diploma film The Only Day won the grand prix award in the Asean Young Cinema film festival in 1992. She received the British Chevening award scholarship to take up a masters degree in film studies at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. She is currently in the post production stage of a feature film entitled Kuldesak, a collective work with three other Indonesian directors. She writes and directs shorts, documentaries, teleplays and commercials and also teaches at the film school.


The Little Gayo Singer is an aesthetically shot portrait of an extraordinary ten-year-old Indonesian boy. A major performer in the traditional form of sung poetry, Kabri rehearses with his father's team in preparation for a marathon singing competition. Together with glimpses of his life as an ordinary village child, the images of his intense concentration and strong presence are moving.

Director's Statement

The first time I met Kabri Wali, I was immediately struck by the way he carried himself amongst all the adults in the room. He was very self-assured and joined us in conversation while taking sips of coffee from his father's cup. When he sang, I could feel the goosebumps appearing on the back of my neck, a sure sign that means yes, oh yes, this is the singer we were looking for. During the shoot, Kabri had an attack of conjunctivitis which made him irritable and moody. We could not postpone the didong competition and were hoping for the best while shooting around Kabri. But the minute he came on stage he forgot about his eyes and performed so beautifully.

There were so many elements of the Gayo culture that I wanted to explore at length. The intricacies of didong, for example, which reflects the character and socio-political framework of the people in Central Aceh. It was one of the subjects that I hope to come back to in the near future.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee