Category Archives: Folk

The Spring of Lokananta

Album Keagungan Tuhan, by A. Kadir (Lokanta, 1970-ies, CD version 1980-ies)

Album Menanti Musafir by A. Kadir (Lokananta, 1970-ies, CD version 1990-ies)

Lokananta lovers now can get old Indonesia albums released by Lokananta in CD format. These CD’s are sold in some stores in Yogyakarta, such Popeye Store in Mataram street, and Mirota Batik in Malioboro street. On January 2011, I bought two albums of A. Kadir entetitled Keagungan Tuhan, and Menanti Musafir. These two albums originally released in LP format on 1970-ies, and may be cassettes. This CD version was rereleased by Perum PNRI Surakarta, local government agent for state printing on 1980-ies. So it is not something new. But it is supposedly that when those albums was rereleased, public were not yet being aware on such old albums. So the albums were not succes commercially. Fortunately, that in these years, the  situation  is different.  Some people start to like such old Indonesian songs as we can see after an organization KPMI start to pay attention on old Indonesian recorded music.

These two albums are truly superb recording. It consists of Melayu songs in term of traditional genre.  This  Melayu  song  is  a second  evolution of Melayu music before later on become dangdut. Mostly the songs composed by A. Kadir and interpretated by singer Ida Laila. The music sounded traditional, and the band was a traditional Orkes Melayu — with acoustic bass ect. The key  works:  Keagungan Tuhan, and Malam Pengantin. *

Oma Irama on Sundanesse Gamelan

Do you ever imagine that Oma Irama, Indonesian dangdut singer, interpretated traditional Sundanesse song — even under Sundanesse gamelan orchestra? But, this was a fact that Oma Irama unce upon time in history engaged in album entitled Sekar Tjatur by duo-vocalists Titim Fatimah and Oma Irama with orchestra Gamelan Seni Sunda Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (produced by Canary and Metropolitan record, with no time of releasing).

Consists of 8 songs, Oma Irama only interpretated one song entitled Sekar Tjatur. This album is purely traditional music with it’s gamelan sound and melody. Why Oma Irama was engaged in this album? I think he just want to endorse traditional music and musicians, since Oma Irama in that time (1970-ies) had his popularity, meanwhile the traditional musicians were diffcult to get popularity.

This artefact showed us that there was similarity between Sundanesse and dangdut music. It is in the case of Oma Irama who then become a King of Dangdut. And there is such opinion. Singer Hetty Koes Endang ever said in television that the singer who can sing traditional Sundanesse should easily sang dangdut, since there is similarity bertween the two. *

Love Song and Personal Moment

Album pop Sunda "Cinta", Hetty Koes Endang, Musica, December, 1991.

Love is the most universal theme for songs lyric. Love is the most popular theme in music industry. But of course not all love songs have tie with all bodies heart. You are lucky if you have a favourite song which can express your feeling, your love feeling.

And truly you are very blessed if you have love song which can remind to your falling love moment. Because falling love moment is something very personal, and very very rare moment. To fall in love for some people is such subtle and valuable experience.  So if in that moment you have a favourite song that can remind you to that “blessed moment”, that song will be truly your very personal song. Do you have that one?

To day, February, 14, 2010, allow us to remind you the album Cinta, a pop Sundanesse music which was interpretated by a singer Hetty Koes Endang (Musica, December, 1991). The band was Getek’s band under direction Yan Achiemsha. Consists of 10 songs, all songs were easy and nice listening. The hits: Cinta (composed by Nano S.), Sesah Hilapna, and Mitoha. I review this album here to give my personal and deep appreciation to this love album. *

Gordon Tobing Sing Sing So

Album "Gordon Tobing, Sing Sing So, Suara Impola", Media record.

Album "Gordon Tobing, Sing Sing So, Suara Impola", Media record.

Gordon Tobing (1925-1993) is folk singer from Medan, a city in west Sumatera. I am not familiar with this singer until I buy this Gordon Tobing cassete newly. His voice is tender, not as I image mostly from Batak singers which are usually hard to hear. Some people said that Gordon Tobing is such legend singer — he mostly sang Batakness folk songs, as interpretated in this album “Sing Sing So” with his group Suara Impola (recorded by Media, with no date of releasing). His songs in this album are Sing Sing So, Lisoi. Butet, Soleram and so on. *

The Last Man (Standing) Selling Oldies



On 6 March 2009, I visit Makassar, a city in south Sulawesi, for delivering a speech on Socializing Reading Habit, a workshop held by Department for National Education. After the task, I have only three hours to go for walk in Makassar before I leave thru Garuda flight to Jakarta.

Fortunately, I find a litle kiosk owned by Mr. Herman, a chinesse-blood who live in Makassar for his lifetime. His kiosk is located in Pasar Bitung jalan Tinumbu Makassar. Actually, I come to his kiosk to buy robusta coffee. While waiting Mr. Herman serve my order, I luckily see some old cassetes in his buffet. I check. And bravo. Some cassetes are produced in 70-ies and usually from traditional genre. And I bought about 10 cassetes. *

Machicha Mochtar: From Pop to Dangdut

Jumping from pop music to dangdut is not only singer Machicha Mochtar’s choice. There are several Indonesian singers who sing pop as well as dangdut, even diversived from ethnic keroncong to dangdut. To mention examples:

1. Hetty Koes Endang on album entitled “Astaga” (lagu-lagu melayu dangdut volume 2) produced by Musica, 1974.

2. Album entitled “Pop Melayu Pilihan” by various artists such as Grace Simon, Eddy Silitonga, and A Riyanto, produced by Remaco, no date.

3. Even ethnic keroncong singer Waljinah sang dangdut in album Merem Melek by Waljinah and Mamik Slamet (pop Jawa jaipong dan dangdut bahasa Jawa), produced by Dian record, no date.

So when Makassar singer Machicha Mochtar who released a pop album entitled Oke Punya Nich (MSC record, Bali Connection, December 1993), then release dangdut album ILALANG (?) and became hit, it is not something bizarre. This dangdut album by Machicha should be recognized better than Oke Punya Nich, especially it’s melodies. But actually album Oke Punya Nich is still better then ILALANG in arrangement. There is some thing new and fresh in it’s arrangement actually, because it was blended various genres techno, rap, rock, melayu, and pop.

This such experimental approach is because there are several creative artists behind this album, such as  Yongky Suwarno (musician from progressive pop genre), Ayu Weda (rock singer from Denpasar who then devoted herself for sufism), and even kiai Hamim Jazuli (a.k.a. Gus Mik, a spiritualist like Hazrat Inayat Khan). But unfortunately, this album is not succes commercially. *

Teruna Ria’s Story

It is very rare to find Indonesian long play in 50-ies which included profile of the band. The exception is this album entitled Suling Bambu (Bamboo Flute) of Teruna Ria. Wrote by critic CH Hasmanan, the liner note talked about the story of Teruna Ria. Let me quote this note in it’s original version but with such modification. For non-Indonesian readers, I beg your pardon.

1. Teruna Ria berdiri kurang lebih pada 1956. Band ini sering show ke Bogor, Bandung, Tjirebon, Serang, Bumiaju, Jogja, Semarang, Madiun, Surabaja, Malang, Modjokerto, Palembang, Medan.

2. Pada mulanya, nama band ini Irama Cubana Teruna Ria, namun kemudian diubah menjadi Teruna Ria saja. “Hal mana tentulah lebih tjojok dan sesuai dengan kepribadian nasional kita”.

3. Sejak 1959, Teruna Ria secara teratur membuat rekaman di Irama. Pada mulanya ph standar 78 rpm, lama-lama menjadi ph djangka-pandjang (long play). Album Suling Bambu adalah long play ketiga.

4. Lagu-lagu mereka terdengar juga di beberapa film nasional, antara lain Teruna Djenaka, Gadis di Seberang Djalan, Detik-detik Berbahaja, dan Pesta Musik La Bana.

5. Pada 1956, Irama Cubana Teruna Ria terdiri dari: Zainal Arifin (gitar, leader), Rozaman, Rachmat, Indroto, Hans Runtukahu, Icksan, dan Sofjan. Oslan Husein dan Mus DS menjadi penyanyi tunggalnya. Oslan bisa menyanyikan lagu-lagu Minangkabau. Mus DS biasa menyanyikan ” lagu dengan irama hangat”, dan belakangan “menggali repertoar lagu-lagu Sunda”.

6. Teruna Ria secara teratur tampil pada acara malam musik di taman hiburan Wisma Nusantara setiap minggu. Formasi terakhir diperkuat Margono (pianis), dan Onny Surjono (bas dan penyanyi).

7. Musik Teruna Ria tidak menggunakan aransemen yang terlalu sulit, kata-kata lagu praktis, mudah dilafalkan dan ditiru dalam waktu singkat. Pernah mereka menemukan seorang botjah tjilik menyanyikan bait-bait Sinandi-nandi, di suatu dusun kecil di pantai Samudera Hindi jang sunji. *   

Old School of Bram Aceh

Bram Aceh is one of old school Kerontjong singers. Sam Saimun is among his generation. Bram Aceh is grand father of Harvey Malaiholo, a prominent pop Indonesian singer in 90-ies. What makes keroncong songs are unique, because some of them used name of places as song titles. For example, Pasar Gambir. Listening to this album, we as the later generation, can recognize the old school voice of Bram Aceh, which may be not special but unique, and rock-style-timbre. Pardon me if it is not proper. Thank to Gema Nada Pertiwi, publisher who mentions datas of old songs, it’s composer names, and it’s date of composing. *  


Track list

Track list

Album: Pasar Gambir

Artist: Bram Aceh

Band: Orkes Keroncong Senja Ayu, under direction K. Soemardi

Publisher: Gema Nada Pertiwi, 1989


Side one:

  1. Pasar Gambir (?, 1930)
  2. Schoon Ver Van You (NN, 1910)
  3. Bunga Anggrek (NN, 1910)
  4. Mawar sekuntum (Sapari, 1950)
  5. Salabintana (NN, 1955)
  6. Rayuan Kelana (Sapari, 1960)
  7. Gema Irama (Sapari, 1960)


Side two:

  1. Kr. Moritsku (NN, 1930)
  2. Di Bawah Sinar Bulan Purnama (Maladi, 1940)
  3. Telomoyo (NN, 1930)
  4. Hanya Engkau (H. Abdul Gani, 1960)
  5. Terkenang-kenang (Sariwono, 1950)
  6. Sampai Menutup Mata (Mus K Wirya, 1960)
  7. Tanah Airku (Kelly Puspito, 1960)



The Guitar Knight Rhoma Irama

Thank to “Zona 80 Masih Ada”, musical programme of METRO TV Indonesia, which featured Rhoma Irama, singer and composer for Melayu music (dhangdut), on May 2008. Any information from Rhoma Irama is truly important for history of Indonesian music. Let me quote some Rhoma speechs in that programme.

Dhangdut according to Rhoma is label for Melayu music in his era. In his time, rock from Europe was very popular and look like would dominate Indonesian music landscape. As Melayu musician, Rhoma did like that situation. He refused such rock domination. That’s why he modified Melayu music with rock style — some thing that critic journalist then called it as dangdhut.

Rhoma also told an anecdote. Once upon time, when Deep Purple from British toured in Indonesia in 70-ies, there was rumor that Rhoma bought guitar owned by Ritchie Blackmore, one of Deep Purple members. But Rhoma rejected that issue, telling the truth. “I bought the guitar in China,” Rhoma said. In that time, he was interested to buy a guitar “Steinberger” from the music store. But the owner rejected Rhoma’s willing — may be because this such guitar is very exclusive. Rhoma needes to come three times to that store, before finally he could buy it, after the owner of the store and the boss of Steinberger, know that Rhoma is Indonesian superstar — as read from Newsweek magazine.

Rhoma songs are usually bringing moral message. One of his song Judi (Gambling) was banned by government, because in that time, under New Order Administration, gambling was legal as far as it was Porkas. “This song is against gambling, ” Rhoma said. His real name is Raden Irama. “But I want to undiscover my Raden and Haji, so that’s why I prefer to use my name Rhoma.” *


The Blessed Composer: Gesang

Indonesian composer Gesang, 90 years old, is the blessed composer. In his youngster, he was not as popular as to day. And may be he lived poor. But now, he got any royalties and donation from his fans especially from Japan. On May 26, The Association of Indonesia-Japan Friendship gave donation to maintain Taman Gesang, a park to celebrate Gesang works, in Solo middle Java.

Koji Kawano, a member of Association, quoted saying (as interviewed by TVONE) that the donation is such appreciation for the composer. Taman Gesang was built 25 years ago and not well maintained because a lack of fund. Gesang is popular in Japan, because his song Bengawan Solo was used as sound track for one of Japanesse movie.  Bengawan Solo was composed at 1940, before Japanesse military occupy Indonesia. * 

Track list

Album: Lagu-lagu pilihan karya Gesang
Artist: Gesang and Mini Satria
Publisher: Gema Nada Pertiwi, 1982

Side one:
1. Wawancara dengan pak Gesang (1982)
2. Bengawan Solo — Mini Satria (1940)
3. Kr. SI Piatu — Mini Satria (1938)
4. Bumi Emas Tanah Airku — Gesang (1963)
5. Tirtonadi — Mini Satria (1942)

Side two:
1. Kr. Roda Dunia — Mini Satria (1939)
2. Dunia Berdamai — Mini Satria (1942)
3. Kalung Mutiara — Mini Satria (1972)
4. Indonesia Merdeka — Mini Satria (?)
5. Jembatan Merah — Mini satria (1943)