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Music of Indonesia 2: Indonesian Popular Music: Kroncong, Dangdut & Langgam Jawa

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Music of Indonesia 2: Indonesian Popular Music: Kroncong, Dangdut & Langgam Jawa

type:
Music
Current Status:
In Season
performer:
Various Artists
Producers:
Smithsonian Folkways
genre:
World

We gave it an A+

I know, I know — the title, Music of Indonesia 2: Indonesian Popular Music: Kroncong, Dangdut & Langgam Jawa, makes this sound like a bad PBS documentary. Well, hold on a minute: You won’t find a more fascinating collision of East and West than this compilation of Jakarta pop. These fave raves from in and around Indonesia’s capital city tuck the slippery melodies of Southeast Asia into beds of Western instrumentation. Some cuts, featuring poetic lyrics crooned over washes of soft-jazz flute and violin, feel like brunch music from another planet. Other songs are shockingly rock-oriented, mixing fuzz-guitar heroics with Indonesian lyrics that reflect the schizophrenia of urban Muslim life (”People…are so drunk with progress/ They think the computer is God”). This is head-clearing stuff, a jumble of paradoxes captured perfectly by the way-cool cover photo of local superstar Rhoma Irama — dressed like Rambo and wielding a black headless guitar. A+

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