The Band

H O R A S!

Welcome to the MARSADA website.

Marsada are the sensational Batak band from Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. The band live and perform professionally in Sumatra but are now rapidly becoming known on the world stage through management and promotion outside Indonesia.

Please enjoy the Marsada website. Be introduced to the group and their music, listen to sound samples of their album and discover Marsada’s tropical home: Samosir Island in Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world. Breathtaking scenery, dynamic culture and some of the friendliest people in the world.

News Update

<!– HEATWAVE SUCCESS – 4 members of Marsada recently completed a successful tour of the UK in November 2005. Collaborating with musicians from Senegal and Madagascar the HEATWAVE tour entertained audiences in 10 venues across the country including one date in both Wales and Scotland. If you missed the tour photos will be posted soon in the ‘Gallery’.

FUTURE PLANS – Marsada are now back in LakeToba, Sumatra considering possibilities for a new recording and further touring.  

–>2007 – Marsada are currently working on their home island of Samosir in Lake Toba. They perform regularly at weddings and other parties in the area and have set up a bar near Lontung where they perform in the evenings.

CHILDREN OF SUMATRA – This small charity, supported by Marsada, was set up to correct cleft lip and palate in children living in Sumatra but after the tsunami widened its focus to include disaster relief. It’s work which has been witnessed first hand by members of the group and their manager, is making a huge difference to the lives of many people in northern Sumatra, especially the areas of Aceh, Medan and Lake Toba <!– Aceh, especially on the nearly forgotten island of Pulau Weh, a few miles offshore from Banda Aceh. Now over a year after the tsunami happened vital work still continues to take place to rebuild the licves of those affected and continue with operations for children with cleft lip and palate. –>



Thank you for your support








Meet the band:

Amir Jannen Henry Tony Amput Kolous Lundu


are a dynamic group of young musicians from Sumatra, Indonesia. Part of the Toba-Batak indigenous group, their native home and source of inspiration for their music is the beautiful tropical island of Samosir in Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world.Marsada

means together in Batak, an apt name for a group who have known each other and performed together for most of their lives. Initially formed as a musical trio in 1990, Marsada extended the group in 1999 to become the group they are today.The Batak are renowned for their musical ability and consequently Marsada have grown up surrounded by music. Keen to sustain their musical traditions, as well as draw on their modern day influences, Marsada have developed their own arrangements of both the Batak ceremonial music (uning-uningan) and Batak folksongs. Using traditional instruments alongside modern acoustic guitars, Marsada broaden their musical accessibility by weaving together traditional rhythms with those that have evolved from contact with Europe and the west. Traditional instruments used by Marsada include the the hasapi (2-stringed plucked lute); sulim (bamboo flute), garantung (wooden xylophone), taganing (set of 5 wooden drums of varying pitch) and the hesek (common bottle struck with beater).

Founding member of Marsada in 1990, Marlundu Situmorang, reportedly first picked up his older brother’s guitar at the age of 6 and has rarely been seen without one since! He is blessed with a rich silky voice and as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist he provides a strong lead for the group. The other two members of the original trio, Kolous Sidabutar (bass) and Jannen Sigalingging (hasapi/lead guitar), complement Lundu’s vocals perfectively and form the core of the close harmony singing so characteristic of the Batak folksongs. Oldest member of the group, Tony Sidabutar, is, like most, able to switch effortlessly between instruments to great effect but his main strength is undoubtedly in his beautiful sulim playing. Tony makes most of his flutes himself with bamboo grown on Samosir Island. Also on sulim, aswell as percussion, is Amir Sinaga, Henry Manik provides strong percussive cohesion on hesek and Amput Sidabutar skilfully alternates between rhythm and melody on the garantung and taganing.

To download the full biography please click here




  A traditional Toba Batak house 

The Batak consist of seven ethnic groups: the Mandailings and Angkolans in the south, the Tobas in the centre, the Pakpaks and Dairis in the north-west and the Karos and Simalunguns in the north and north-east. Amongst these ethnic groups there are three different Batak languages spoken and regional dialects within each. These languages are spoken in addition to the established Indonesian language, Bahasa Indonesia, which originated from Malay.

The old religions of the Batak were based on animism. This involved the acknowledgement of many Gods, great emphasis being put on the power of the mind, or tondi, and a strong fear of ghosts, demons and ancestors. A lot of the old Batak traditions still live on but the religions most commonly practised now are Islam and Christianity.

The traditional Batak houses, as pictured above, can still be seen throughout the Lake Toba region. These distinctive constructions are made wholly of wood with a saddle roof, originally of ijuk (black palm fibres) but now replaced by metal. Most commonly about 9m long and 5m wide each house used to contain up to four families but usually now only one. A row of four to six Batak houses with an opposing row of rice barns (sopo) made up a batak village, or huta. Today the rice barns rarely remain but villages were and still are remarkably small.

As well as their musical talents the Batak are known for their beautiful art work and crafts, including wood carving. Many Batak houses exhibit fine wood carvings painted with the sacred colours, black, red and white. Traditionally lavish house carvings were the privilege of the village headman. The prominence of the lion’s head on such carvings symbolised the mythical serpent, naga, believed to sustain the universe and, on the headmans house, offer protection to the community.


1 Comment

  1. BATAK_MARSADA “PROFILES” « my radical judgement by roysianipar said,

    […] READ MORE […]

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