Gig Seeker Pro



Band World Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Tommee at the Sphinx Sunday"

Tommee has become one of the most loved performers in the local area. He presents a unique and instantly recognisable mix of roots, reggae, blues, latin and afro beats. Crossing musical boundaries, Tommee's music is also infused with elements of his Indonesian roots, particularly with the Kecapi and other traditional instruments.....
Combining both his native Bima language and English with infectious grooves and upbeat melodies, the music promotes Tommee's trademark warmth and laid back 'sweetness of life'.
Tommee performs at the Sphinx Rock Cafe at Mt. Burrell on Sunday from 1-5. - Byron Shire Echo: January 20 2009

"Kachampo Album Review"

Indonesian-Australian multi-instrumentalist Tommee has put together an album of traditional sounds from his homeland.
"I was born in the heart of the jungle, in a village called Bima on Sumbawa Island, which lies on the eastern side of the Indonesian archipelago," Tommee explains. "My musical journey began in my mother's kitchen, with an orchestra of instruments including pots, pans, plates and buckets."

He was twelve when one of his school teachers recognised his talent and introduced him to a drum kit. Guitar, piano, and traditional instruments the kecapi, gambo and kenong soon followed. After living on various islands in the archipelago Tommee migrated to Australia in 1984, settling in Sydney.

Tommee supported the John Butler Trio at Bendigo's Schweppes Centre a couple of years ago to great acclaim. He has also played major venues and festivals with the likes of The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, Paul Simon and UB40. His first album released in 2004 was No Added Sugar, a reggae inspired effort. But as he says, "I speak five different native dialects within Indonesia, and English. It's only natural that I wish to include all of these languages into my songs." So his second album Kachampo features Tommee's expertise on the 20-string kecapi and the percussive kaleng arumanis. It mixes up the sounds of Sunda with East Java and language of Bima.
The eleven tracks are all self-penned and sweetly recorded with supplementary western instruments including electric bass and guitar. Io Ariku heads up the CD and has a nice blend of rhythm and melody. Similarly with the following two tunes. Track 4 eases back and features the reggae-like dangdut feel so loved by Indonesians. The tile song contrasts Tommee's gravelly voice with a cascading flow of notes from the zither style playing of the kecapi.
'Lantika' gives Tommee a chance to display his superb guitar picking, while the lazy beat on 'Kiri Pu Amae' is hypnotic and the plucked strings ooze the blues. 'Moti Lembo has R'n'B sensibilities with Tommee groaning out the lyrics. A flowing harp-like crescendo introduces Soba, which has a tight bassline and a tingling solo. The final cut Kawarra Angi canters along musically with Tommee's voice deep and mysterious. More tasteful guitar shining light a beacon here.
This is the sort of music which educates about the myriad cultures of Indonesia as well as being a pleasant listen.
- Peter Dawson-

"Unexpected Indonesian masterpiece from Oz"

Tommee Balukea hails from the village of Bima on Sumbawa Island, which lies on the eastern side of the Indonesian archipelago. Based in Australia for the past 20 years, he first gained attention as guitarist with Sydney reggae group Kalabash.
His song writing skills were highlighted in his 2003 debut album ‘No Added Sugar on which backed by his band “The Neighbourhood’, he fused an enticing mix of blues and reggae, emphasising his inventive, laid-back acoustic guitar style.
But Kachampo (Mix it Up) is a very different album. A solo project, this is Tommee’s overdue return to his Indonesian musical roots. It features the cascading kora-like sound of the kecapi, a 20-string zither indigenous to the Orang Sunda (Sundanese people) of West Java. Tommee’s elegant proficiency on the hypnotic is a revelation, impressively complimented by his ornate guitar work. He also plays a bizarre, multi-chambered percussion instrument from East/ Central Java called kaleng arumanis. Best of all he’s singing in the tribal language of his birth, which suits his earthy voice far better than the English which dominated his precious album.
On first listen, one could be forgiven for thinking that this beautiful music was of West African, or even North African, origins. It moves from the intricately spinning opening ‘Io Ariku’, through modal and pentatonic riffs ‘Kalembo Ade’, to a relaxed reggae ‘Cengga Aruziki’. An unexpected pleasure from start to finish, Kachampo has an unadorned simplicity to it, which through its authenticity transforms into a dazzling gem of an album. Absolutely flawless.

- Songlines Magazine (UK) by Seth Jordan

""Some of the most lyrical and impassioned guitar of the festival.”"

“Harry Manx’s exotic instrumentation mushroomed with the addition of “Tommee”, an
Indonesian who played an extraordinary koto-like instrument called the Kecapi, as well as
some of the most lyrical and impassioned guitar of the festival.”

- John Shand- The Sydney Morning Herald

"No Added Sugar review"

“No Added Sugar” straddles several genres, including reggae, classical, blues and folk. It
works best when the fine band settle into toetappin’ grooves.”

- The Sunday Telegraph- Peter Holmes

"Naturally Sweet Enough"

“No Added Sugar” as the name suggests, naturally sweet enough. The band enthuses their
tracks with love, colour and soul that comes together to unite the planet with the soulful
sounds. Their music moves through genres, anchoring itself in urban jungle groove, making
the sojourn in to roots reggae then a quick joy ride to funk, soul, blues, then a stop over to
sample Latin and Afro beats.”
~Mandy Nolan, The Echo ~
- The Echo- Mandy Nolan


Get on So Well (2008) :
This lush and profound solo offering gently infuses reggae- tinged grooves with gorgeous songwriting and sounds from many corners of the globe.

Kachampo (2006):
This quintessential world music recording brings together the sounds and spirits of three Indonesian tribes.

No Added Sugar (2003):
Combining both his native Bima language and English with infectious grooves and upbeat melodies, this is Tommee's trademark warmth and laid back "sweetness" of life.



Born in Dana Mbojo (Bima) in between the sea and the jungle on the eastern Indonesian island of Sumbawa, then tasted the urban lifestyle of Sydney, Tommee calls his music Urban Jungle Groove. It's an exotic mix of his jungle roots & global grooves infused with the sweetness of life and the songs and stories of his journey.

Tommee came to Australia over 20 years ago with the love of music and the dedication to work on his craft. A master of string instruments (both indigenous and contemporary), he has toured across Australia, North America and Asia sharing the stage with innumerable bands and artists including guest performances with Bob Brozman, Harry Manx and also supporting the act like The Wailers. With the turn of the millennium Tommee began touring his own music and sharing his vibes; an island skank with a positive vibe that touches people's hearts and make their bodies move.

In 2003, Tommee released 'NO ADDED SUGAR', his critically acclaimed debut album featuring his four piece band, 'The Neighbourhood'. Tommee has toured solidly along the Australian east coast since the release of this album, both in a headline capacity, as well as opening for the JOHN BUTLER TRIO and playing with HARRY MANX in Australia and Canada in 2004.

In March 2006, Tommee was invited to play with the world's best at WOMADelaide and released his first solo album, 'KACHAMPO'. Moving to the hills of Byron Bay in late 2006, Tommee recorded his follow- up album 'GET ON SO WELL'. Since the release of 'Get On So Well' Tommee has spent time writing new material in Indonesia and completed two tours of Japan (2007 & 2008) and a tour of France (2007).

Always a favourite with festival crowds, some of his most memorable appearances include performances at the WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL 2003/4 & 2005/6 and PEATS RIDGE FESTIVAL 2005, 2006/7, 2008/9 and most recently at EAST COAST BLUES FESTIVAL 2009 on the brand new Indig Stage.

With a style that is unique, yet instantly recognisable, Tommee is proud to be representing his Indonesian spirit and sounds and has dreams that one day his music will travel back to his homeland to inspire his people.