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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kinds of Indonesian Music

Indonesia is culturally diverse, and every one of the 18,000 islands has its own cultural and artistic history and character. This results hundreds of different forms of music, which often accompanies dance and theater. The musics of Java, Sumatra, Bali, Flores and other islands have been documented and recorded, and research by Indonesian and international scholars is ongoing.

Pop and folk music
Indonesian pop and folk is quite diverse, embracing rock, house, Indonesian hip hop and other genres, as well as distinctly Indonesian forms. There are several kinds of "ethnic" pop music, generally grouped together as Pop Daerah (regional pop). These include Pop Sunda, Pop Minang, Pop Batak, and others. The regional pop musics mostly use local languages and a mix of western and regional style music and instruments.

Kroncong (alternative spelling: Keroncong) has been evolving since the arrival of the Portuguese, who brought with them European instruments. By the early 1900s, it was considered a low-class urban music. This changed in the 1930s, when the rising Indonesian film industry began incorporating kroncong, and then even more so in the mid- to late 1940s, when it became associated with the struggle for independence.
Perhaps the most famous song in the kroncong style is Bengawan Solo, written in 1940 by Gesang Martohartono, a Solonese musician. Written during the Japanese Imperial Army occupation of the island in World War II, the song (about the Bengawan Solo River, Java's longest and most important river) became widely popular among the Javanese, and then later nationally when recordings were broadcast over the local radio stations. The song also became quite popular with the Japanese soldiers, and when they returned to Japan at the end of the war re-recordings of it (by Japanese artists) became best-sellers. Over the years it has been re-released many times by notable artists, mainly within Asia but also beyond, and in some places it is seen as typifying Indonesian music.
Gesang himself remains the most renowned exponent of the style, which although it is seen now as a somewhat starchy and "dated" form is still popular among large segments of the population, particularly the older generation.

Tembang jawa
Similar in style is tembang jawa. Perhaps its greatest current star is Didi Kempot.

Dangdut is a form of dance music that has been popular since the mid-1970s. Dangdut is based around the singers, and stars include Rhoma Irama and Elvy Sukaesih (the log and Queen of Dangdut), along with Inul Daratista, Evie Tamala, Mansyur S., A. Rafiq, and Fahmy Shamnmnm.

Jaipongan is a very complex rhythmic dance music from Sunda. The rhythm is liable to change seemingly randomly, making dancing difficult for most listeners. Its instruments are entirely from Sunda, completely without imported instruments from the West, China, Japan or elsewhere. It was invented by artists like Gugum Gumbira after Sukarno prohibited rock and roll and other western genres.

Qasidah modern
Qasidah is an ancient Arabic word for religious poetry accompanied by chanting and percussion. Qasidah modern adapts this for pop audiences.

Indonesian Music Legends
From Gesang, Koes Bersaudara/Koes Plus (Indonesian #1 Legend), Dara Puspita, Alfian, Titiek Puspa, Guruh Gypsi, Gombloh and Lemontrees, Bing Slamet, Benyamin S, Godbless, Chrisye, DARSO (Calung X), Harry Roesli (50's-70's) till Fariz RM, Iwan Fals,and many more.


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