I Gusti Ngurah Ketut Riwiyana, 53, commonly known as Riwin, has been a guitarist for over 30 years with Tropical Transit, a jazzy Latin band that started in 1990. He shared his day with Carla Albertí de la Rosa

Every night I dream of my music. It’s my inspiration. So when I wake up at 10am I have to jump out of bed and run into my home studio. I create my music and have a black coffee. I sometimes put milk in it, depending on the day. I drink too much coffee, sometimes three a day, and I worry about my health because of my age.

I think I have to do something before I leave this world. I want to do music, good music. My wife or my housekeeper brings in some breakfast. I usually have some brown bread with eggs and cheese.

I learned to play the guitar in 1976, when I was in senior high school. I’ve always loved the sound of it, so romantic, so most of the day I spend in my studio, listening to my music and trying to make it better.

My favourite artist has always been Paco de Lucia. He’s an amazing flamenco guitarist and the first time I listened to him I felt hypnotized by his melody. Tropical Transit started off in 1990. We’re now seven but people have kept on coming and going. I’m the only original one in the band and many people believe without me the band wouldn’t exist. The name of the band comes from the transit of people on the island.

I have lunch before 2pm, when I pick up my three kids from school. When friends come to my home they say “You look like a Westerner” because I usually have Western food. I find Balinese food too spicy. But I also have rice with curry or soup. I’m an easy person. I sometimes wait for my kids to be home so we all have lunch together, but it’s a bit late for lunch then. They are all in different schools and it takes me about an hour to get back home. I have a TV in the car and I sometimes watch it if I’m parked waiting for my kids. I also navigate the internet with my BlackBerry.

When I get home I check people’s comments about my music on web pages like jango.com or soundclick.com, and I also sell it online. I’m busier when I have a festival, like BaliSpirit last week, where I played with Mamadou. Otherwise I have a gig almost every night in different places. I never practice at home but at the location where we’re playing, like Maya Saya, Lapau or Casa Luna, in Ubud. I normally have dinner there. I particularly like the sushi at Maya Saya. Once a week I take my family out for dinner, wherever they like. I enjoy making them happy.

In my spare time I’m a healer. I pray for the spirits. I have a special room in my house where there are many spirits. I can feel them. It used to be my son’s room, but there was a spirit. I could feel it back in 1997 and sometimes it scared me. A priest came home and he said I had to help people and pray for the spirit so he would always protect me. After this spirit many more came. So many people come to my house asking me to help them with their problems. It’s a healing similar to reiki. I also do purification, showering people with holy water that has lemon and flowers. We normally do this in the garden and the person wears a sarong.

I also spend a lot of my time in the temples. I go with my wife to a different one every time and sometimes my kids come along. I like taking my kids to the beach on a Sunday morning as it’s not as busy as in the afternoon. My favourite beach in Bali is Geger, in Nusa Dua.

When I have a gig I finish around 11 and then I talk to people and socialise; it’s part of my job. I get home at midnight and go into my studio again until 2am. Before I fall asleep I check my Facebook via my BlackBerry and fall asleep ready for my nocturnal inspiration.

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  1. Sigrid Says:

    Hi, Riwin I just read the article. Nice to hear from you because I am in Germany now as you know. Best regards to you and your friends – Sigrid from Sanur!

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