Meet Kim Patra, a long time Bali resident who performs happy blues every Monday night at Teras Gandum Beer Garden & Kitchen. Here she talks about her journey in music, her inspiration and what music is to her.
When did you first start playing music?
I started when I was 12, I was just very interested in the guitar on the stage and all kids want to play guitar.
I played for several years until I got serious with my studies then I stopped for a while. But when I came to Bali in 1982, I started to perform in Sanur at Sari Karya and I stayed with music for a while, then when I had children and a business I stopped. I’m a midwife and nurse so I was very busy, I was on call and couldn’t really dedicate much time to my music. Then I about 10 years ago I got back into a blues band and now I play solo again.
Can you explain the type of happy blues music that you play?
What I realised and also what I was guilty of was a lot of music, you’re sitting there, you go home and say everyone was single about sad things so I wanted to do something different.
I was inspired by people, we went to a blues festival and heard a lot of musicians that when you came away from their performances they really got you into their music, and it was blues, but a happy blues.
Probably it has its roots in gospel, even though I’m not a religious person, I just love gospel, I just thought I want to do that. I want to perform and have people feel lifted when they leave rather than sad.
Describe yourself in 5 words
A very complex human being.
What is music to you?
My music, it’s a part of my life, it’s not something that you just do. It’s not a part of something that you move out and in to it. It is you, it’s a part of you and it’s always there. I think people who are not musically minded don’t understand it, and we can’t understand people that don’t get it. It’s a part of your genetic makeup.
All my kids are musicians, Krisna (Floop) is probably the most professional, Ben is very musical, he writes incredible poetry, & my daughter was but now she’s going through kids and family. My parents are not really, I don’t know where I got it from, must be because I was born under the full moon or something.
And what I also find great about music is that you can express yourself. Actually when the boys (Krisna and Ben) left home, I sat down and wrote a song which when people listened to, they started to cry because they could identify that feeling of having the kids move away, and you have empty nest syndrome.
What instruments do play?
I play guitar and have just started to play harmonica, it’s pretty easy because it’s all one key.
The looping pedal was a gift from Krisna, it’s taking a while to learn how to use it because you have to think fast, to be able to multi-task, there’s things about lopping, it’s not pre-programmed, you’re doing it as you play, you have to turn off the guitar then record a voice, it’s complicated but you get used to it.
Where do you find inspiration?
I like a lot of genres of music, but once again it comes back to the gospel songs that kind of lift your spirit up.
What makes you want to perform in Rumah Sanur?
I think it’s a great space for something different. We can see live music everywhere, every week, there always 2 guys playing guitar, singing songs that I was playing 30 years ago and they are very good but they are all the same. For me I’m bringing back old stuff with a new twist to it and I write stuff myself which doesn’t do well in a restaurant because they all see tourists who want to hear the old stuff. To a musician that are creative that’s very boring. So I like Rumah Sanur because you can play everything and experiment.
Any advice for new musicians?
Just do it, follow your heart, don’t let people put you in a box.