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UNESCO Names Eastern Indonesian City of Ambon  'City of Music'

UNESCO Names Eastern Indonesian City of Ambon 'City of Music'

UNESCO has named Ambon, the capital of Maluku, a “city of music” to mark World Cities Day on Thursday.

Ambon is one of 66 cities around the globe included this year in UNESCO’s Network of Creative Cities for their own unique cultural signatures. The total number of member cities, chosen because they each have a unique cultural signature, is now 246, The Jakarta Post reported.

“All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy,” Azoulay said in a statement as quoted by

Cities of Music Network, UNESCO. Image:
Cities of Music Network, UNESCO. Image:

“This favors political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations.” 

The so-called creative cities are divided into seven categories — gastronomy, literature, film, music, crafts and folk art, media arts and design.

In Southeast Asia, only four cities got the nod from UNESCO for this cycle: Ambon, Thailand’s Bangkok (for design) and Sukhothai (for crafts and folk art), and Cebu City (for design) in the Philippines. 

Ambon City of Music. Image:
Ambon City of Music. Image:

The recognition for music excellence in Ambon is well-earned, considering how a number of prominent Indonesian musicians have hailed from Ambon-and Maluku in general. This includes ’80s singer Harvey Malaihollo, Bob Tutupoly, Andre Hehanusa, Enteng Tanamal, Benny Likumahwa, Ruth Sahanaya, Hamdan Atamimi, Rido Slank, Glenn Fredly, Daniel Sahuleka, Melly Manuhutu and Marcello Tahitoe, Sindonews noted. More recently, Gamaliel and Audrey Tapiheru from musical group GAC

In 2011, the city launched an official campaign to be recognized as a “city of music,” which also features an official song titled, “We Are Musicians.”

On the official campaign website,, the city claims to have 534 musicians, 780 choirs, 94 studios and 177 musical groups.

 Located on the eastern part of the archipelago, Maluku boasts a plethora of unique traditional musical instruments, including the tahuri (flute made from a conch shell) and the tifa drum.

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