World Music Showcase #5

You know, I started this journal three years ago simply as a way to keep in touch with friends and family, but since then, it’s grown into something more. For me, this blog has become a way to show people the world through my eyes – through eyes that want to see everything, that are afraid of nothing, that will eat anything, and that want to be friends with everybody. I want to make the world a little smaller, a little less frightening, a little less stereotyped and prejudiced, a little less exotic and a little more amazing, more incredible, more comfortable. Because I truly believe that, from Indiana to Indonesia to Irian Jaya, we are all the same – we all want to laugh, to love, to dance under the moonlight and sing with our friends and eat our favorite foods and spend time with the people we enjoy the most. We are all just people. And in this big, vast world, there’s no border – no cultural, geographical, linguistic, or religious barrier that a smile can’t cross. When we all want to laugh and love, what can there be to be afraid of? I only hope that, with this blog, I am helping to bring the far-flung corners -and people- of the world just a little bit closer.

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That said, I truly believe that there are few mediums more effective in bridging world gaps than music. Music can bring people together in a way nothing else can – it’s something everybody can relate to, regardless of age, language, gender, or origin. You can understand it even when you can’t understand it, if you know what I mean.

Over these three months since I arrived in Indonesia, I’ve had the chance to discover several cool Indonesian bands, and have been wanting to relaunch my World Music Showcase to show everybody all the coolness that is coming out of this part of the world these days.

Sure, Indonesia has several amazing traditional music styles, including the windchime-like calm of gamelan and the nostalgia of dangdut, and the incredible rhythm of Aceh’s saman dance, just to name a few.

…But I like to choose popular bands and singers for World Music Showcase, so that people realize that not everyone in Indonesia is playing bamboo flutes and banging gongs all day….we have electric guitars here, too! Anyway, the first band I’ve chosen is actually headed by Andra, a former member of the band Dewa, probably the best-known and most popular group to come out of Indonesia in the recent past. This week, I am pleased to bring you:

ANDRA & THE BACKBONE

I don’t know if it’s the simplicity of the wildly popular “Sempurna” (“Perfect” in Bahasa Indonesia), the catchiness of “Di Telan Bumi” (“swallowed in the earth”), or the jam session quality of “Surrender” and “3 Keabaijan”, but I love this band. I love the videos for “Main Hati” and “Hitamku”, and “Dengarkan Aku” is the perfect song to play when you’re in a plane, maybe flying back from Bali or somewhere, as the sun sets high above tiny islands in blue waters and the sky turns pink and orange. I love their guitar riffs, I love their melodies, I love singing their songs (badly and off-key) in Bahasa (fumbling over the words) in tiny karaoke bars in Papua. …And they’re pretty cute, too. Enjoy (preferably on a beach, under the shade of a palm tree…or at least on a deck under an umbrella…)!

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