The culture of Indonesia has been shaped by long interaction between original indigenous customs and multiple foreign influences. Centrally-located along ancient trading routes between the Far East, South Asia and the Middle East, resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity. The result is a complex cultural mixture very different from the original indigenous cultures.
Balinese dances have stories about ancient Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms, while Islamic art forms and architecture are present in Sumatra, especially in the Minangkabau and Aceh regions. Traditional art, music and sport are combined in a martial art form called Pencak Silat, for example. Western culture has greatly influenced Indonesia in science, technology and modern entertainment such as television shows, film and music, as well as political system and issues.
India has notably influenced Indonesian songs and movies, a popular type of song is the Indian-rhythmical dangdut, which is often mixed with Arab and Malay folk music. Despite the influences of foreign culture, some remote Indonesian regions still preserve uniquely indigenous culture, ethnic groups like Mentawai, Asmat, Dani, Dayak, Sasak are still practicing their ethnic rituals, customs and wearing traditional clothes. Examples of cultural fusion include the fusion of Islam with Hindu in Javanese Abangan belief, the fusion of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism in Bodha, and the fusion of Hinduism and animism in Kaharingan, can be cited.
Let’s go to our artist:
Today’s album present us a duo that worked together throughout its careers, Christian Rahadi (16 September, 1949 – 30 March, 2007) and Jockie Soerjoprajogo are considered the brainchild of the revolution in Indonesia’s pop music.
Born in Jakarta of mixed Chinese-Indonesian descent, Chrisye became interested in music at an early age, at high school he played bass guitar in a band he formed with his brother, Joris. In the late 60’s he joined Sabda Nada (later Gipsy), a band led by his neighbours, the Nasutions. In 1973, after a short hiatus, he rejoined the band to play in New York for a year, he briefly returned to Indonesia and then went back to New York with another band, the Pro’s. After returning to Indonesia, he collaborated with Gipsy and Guruh Sukarnoputra to record the 1976 legendary indie album Guruh Gipsy.
Following the success of Guruh Gipsy, in 1977 Chrisye recorded two of his most critically acclaimed works: Lilin-Lilin Kecil, which eventually became his signature song, and the soundtrack album Badai Pasti Berlalu (w/ Eros Djarot and Jockie), with impressive 9-million copies sold up to date! Their success landed him a recording contract with Musica Studios, with whom he released his first solo album, Sabda Alam, in 1978. Over his almost 40-year career he recorded a further twenty albums.
Chrisye died in his home in Jakarta (2007) after a long battle with lung cancer.
Rolling Stone Indonesia declared him the third-greatest Indonesian musician of all time in 2011. Thanks to his successful career, he received two lifetime achievement awards: BASF Awards in 1993 and SCTV (Indonesia TV), posthumously in 2007. (RIP)
Jockie was born in Demak, Central Java on 14 September 1954. Most of his musical skills were self-taught, although he did study composition under Muchtar Embut and musical notation under Idris Sardi (famous arranger). After middle school, Jockie moved to Jakarta and joined with several acts there, in 1973, he joined with Ahmad Albar, Donny Fattah and Ludwig Leeman to form God Bless (as keyboardist).
He split from the band for a brief time to found the bands Giant Step in Bandung and Double Zero in Malang, but returned in early 1975. During this period he was heavily into drugs, once stealing and selling a ring belonging to Harry Roesli to fuel his habit!
In 1976 Jockie joined the committee for Prambors FM’s Teenage Song Writing Competition, he approached Chrisye to ask him to sing the song Lilin-Lilin Kecil, when Chrisye was finally convinced to record, Jockie handled the arrangement.
His first solo album Musik Saya Adalah Saya, came out in 1978, this was followed by four more albums over the next 15 years. Meanwhile, with God Bless he released Cermin (1980), Semut Hitam (1988), and Raksasa (1989), along with many tours.
Jockie joined with Chrisye and Djarot once again in the 80’s to produce a trilogy of albums, Resesi, Metropolitan and Nona, all three went platinum. He is still on active duty and recently organized a famous series of concerts in tribute to Chrisye. (!)
Let’s go to our album:
Jurang Pemisah is an Indonesian pop-prog album, it was Chrisye’s first album, produced and released by Pramaqua Records. Chrisye performed the vocals on seven tracks and played the bass, while Jockie played the keyboards, guitar and drums.
Ian Antono and Teddy Sujaya played the guitar and drums respectively for the songs Mesin Kota and Dia. Jurang Pemisah was a portrait of social reality, dealing with themes such as the environment and politics, the eponymous song, was about class discrimination causing a divide between the different social strata. The other single, Jeritan Sebrang was a portrait of supporters of the Republic of South Maluku.
This astonishing album reveals us a more melodic pop side of what we saw in our previous mixtape, Chrisye’s soft timbre and Jockie’s splendid keys translate the ambitious goals of this masterpiece. Different from Guruh Gipsy’s work, the Lp got no gamelan or traditional influences, nevertheless, do not be intimidated by the language, the beautiful songs shown here will capture the most universal feelings.
With folk, prog and rock tinges the ‘IM’ highlights are: Dendam, a ballad to hear over and over, with acoustic base, minor harmonics and light synths that will take you to some nostalgic place. And Mesin Kota, a hard organ-driven, with uptempo pace, joyous chorus and some nice guitar work. Lastly, I would like to know a little more of the language and further understand the lyrics, will anyone could help us?
1 Jeritan Seberang (Shriek from the Other Side)
2 Jurang Pemisah (Dividing Canyon)
3 Sirna (Disappeared)
4 Mesin Kota (Machines in the City)
5 Putri Madam
6 Dendam (Revenge)
7 Gerutu Menggerutu (Yockie) [Grumbling Roughly]
8 Harapan (Yockie) [Hope]
9 Dia (Her)