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At a glance: Indonesia

Ten-year-old drummer from Indonesia pledges support for UNICEF

UNICEF Image: Indonesia: Ms. Ann M. Veneman and Rafi
© UNICEF/2007/Markisz
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman with Rafi, a 10-year-old Indonesian musician, at UNICEF headquarters in New York.

By Blue Chevigny

NEW YORK, USA, 5 January 2007 – The sound of drumming fills the room, but just as loud is the applause and cheering of the crowd, which calls out the performer’s name – “Rafi!”

At the age of 10, Rafi is a great drummer in the jazz tradition. He already has several years’ experience performing professionally in Indonesia as well as Singapore and, more recently, the United States.

Rafi came to the US with his father and sister to record an album in Los Angeles with jazz stars such as Bob James and Alex Acuña. He also stopped by UNICEF headquarters in New York to visit with Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and tell her about his plan. 

Much-needed assistance

“I’m going to donate a portion of the proceeds from my album to unfortunate children around the world through UNICEF,” Rafi explained, adding that he wanted to help provide those in need with food and other necessities.

UNICEF Image: Indonesia: Ms. Ann M. Veneman and Rafi
© UNICEF/2007/Markisz
Ms. Veneman meets with Rafi and looks at pictures from his recent recording session.

“I am doing this because I want to help them,” he said.

The need for such support is especially clear in Rafi’s home country, where children have faced serious hardships in recent years – including the 2004 tsunami, a major earthquake in Central Java last year and recent flooding in Aceh Province. UNICEF has played a key role in responding to these crises on the ground, along with its ongoing development work in Indonesia.

Passion for music

Rafi loves playing the drums and is already a well known musician in Indonesia. He has also recently taken up the saxophone and hopes to learn to play more instruments soon. “I want to be a musician for the rest of my life,” he said, “though not necessarily always a drummer.”

For now, though, drums and drummers are his passion.

“My favourite musician is Gene Krupa,” he said, referring to the legendary, exuberant jazz and big band drummer of 1940s and ’50s. “He’s the father of all drummers in the world, because he’s the one who invented the drum solo, and no one yet has defeated him.”

Rafi met with Ms. Veneman earlier this week to pledge his contribution to UNICEF. He said he plans to enjoy New York – and maybe hear some jazz – while he and his family members are in town.




5 January 2007:
UNICEF Radio correspondent Blue Chevigny talks with Indonesian drummer Rafi, 10, about his plans to donate some of the proceeds from his new album to UNICEF.
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