The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011



Indonesia’s record industry is in tapes. Everyone in the city of Bandung on Java seems to own or aspire to a guitar. A local music scene leans heavily to soft, poppy rock. Local favourites East Station play something like the Cardigans. Young Indonesians are faultlessly fashionable, hip to the tail-piped jeans and a lot of Indie hair dos. There’s an awful lot of bootleg music product hawked on the streets of every major Indonesian city, CDs in flimsy soft packing sold for EUR0.50. Guitars are cheap – Yamaha manufactures locally, sells its entry level acoustics for about EUR40 at the Gramedia chain store in Jakarta malls. There’s a 50-50 break down between folk and classical guitars – the Bandung bands seem to play both.
Indonesia is a very tolerant muslim nation – the most populous in the world. Bandung’s guitar heroes pedal their tunes under the minaret of Bandung’s main mosque – which at night is almost eclipsed by a giant Dunkin Donuts sign.
The tolerance was explained in a song, translated for me, by a clove-cigarette smoking bandman: “Indonesians go to Saudi Arabia for haji, but the Arabs coming the other way to play around with local women.” Jemaah islamiah seems very far away indeed.
Have a listen to one of my favourite Indonesian bands, Dewa 19, on Myspace.


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Nuggets from our archive

2002 - Interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela, by Cormac Looney. As with Damien Rice's profile, this interview was published before Rodrigo y Gabriela's career took off overseas. It too continues to attract considerable visits every month to the article from Wikipedia.