Sat, 22 Feb 2003

Yogyakarta artists launch first albums

Tarko Sudiarno, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

Three new records by Yogyakartan artists have been released this month, putting the artists' on the local music map.

Laden with idealism in terms of music as well as production costs, the records belong to the SABU group, street musician Sudjud Sutrisno and musician Masanies. The records were produced by Blass Record, a company which usually leases sound systems, lighting and other stage equipment.

"These three records are not launched to rake in profits but mostly based on our deep concern over the fact that most of Yogyakarta musicians do not keep track of their work or get their songs recorded. As we have documented these musicians' activities from the very start, we want take the initiative to launch these records," said Agung Saptono Wibowo, the program director.

Sujud is a street musician who started his musical career in 1967 and became popular for his solo performances with the kendang (small drum). Masanies is a singer in a number of groups in Jakarta and Yogyakarta and has been doing this since 1973, while SABU was set up in 1993 with Untung Basuki as lead musician.

Though these musicians mostly stage their shows at the local level, they have earned recognition on a national scale. Unfortunately, they have not had their songs recorded before.

"Not all of the songs on these records were made in a recording studio. Some were recorded during their live performances. Sujud, for instance, cannot sing in the studio. But once he's among his fans, he will freely and excellently play his music," Agung commented on his client's idiosyncrasies.

As the release of these records was the initial effort of the Blass Group to document the works of Yogyakarta-based musicians, the records are so far available on a limited basis at a few selected places, such as at art events and other small music shops.

"We only made 1000 copies for each album and put the price at Rp 15,000 each. We're not looking for profit as this is not really a commercially oriented project," Agung said.

Masanies' album, of reggae music, is titled Yang Bagus Akan Datang (The Good One Will Come). Other songs include Ratu Adil (Queen of Justice); Give Bali Back Its Shining Light, Kaum Lemah (The Weak) and Sisi Kota (Urban Side).

Born on April 9, 1953, the singer started his career with the Primitive Band in Yogyakarta from 1973 to 1975 before joining the Caos Company Band of West Germany from 1979 to 1981. Later, back home, he played for two years from 1985 at the Kayu Api Cafe in Legian, Bali. In 1991, he set up Wings of Peace in Yogyakarta and was the vocalist of Asian Roots of Jakarta in 1995. In 2001, he became vocalist of Jamming Jakarta.

Sabu's album Tanah (Land) contains poetic songs like Parangtritis, Mahakam I, Elegy, Jiwa Yang Resah I (Restless Soul I), Rembulan dan Matahari (Moon and Sun).

SABU, which was set up in 1993, was previously called the Bamboo Studio Musical Group. It has staged shows in several places, including Aceh, Bali and Jakarta.

Through his album titled Kendang Tunggal Sujud Sutrisno (Sujud Sutrisno's Solo Drum), the musician introduces a contemporary touch to his music in songs like Bulan Purnama (Full Moon), Malam Minggu (Saturday Night), Mama Sayang Boby (Mom Loves Bobby) and Aku Sedih Duduk Sendiri (I'm Sad Sitting Alone).

The 50-year-old Sujud has made his career as a true artist and street musician since 1967, performing in major cities across the country. He has also earned a number of accolades and represented the country when he took part at the International Drum Festival in Jakarta in 1992. He was also named Best Street Musician from Kua Etnika music group in Yogyakarta last year.

The records are being launched in two phases, the second phase will begin on March 7 and end on March 10. The launch event will also feature performances from a variety of groups representing pop, traditional and contemporary music genres.