Although national and international pop stars still rule the airwaves in
This project, which began with support from the Ford Foundation in 1995, encourages radio stations to air local material by providing them with recorded programs and training them to make new recordings on their own. The goal is to bring this varied musical heritage to a wide audience so that listeners might gain a deeper understanding of the many cultural traditions that brush up against each other in
The radio project has become especially relevant in light of recent incidents of interethnic and interreligious violence in several regions of the country.
"Many people talk about political and economic reform, but we also need cultural reform," says Sapto Raharjo, a programmer at Radio Geronimo in
In 1996 Raharjo and a production team began compiling the first of more than 30 programs of ethnic music and distributed tapes of them, along with explanatory notes, to 52 radio stations. Producers and disc jockeys repackage the programs to suit station formats and listener preferences. Ben's Radio, for example, broadcasts two hours of this material each Saturday evening, and plays briefer selections throughout the week. A magazine that covers the radio industry has published background information and interviews with musicians.
Initially, Raharjo and his colleagues drew on hundreds of field recordings that were made through another Foundation-sponsored project (see text box at the bottom of this page). From the outset, though, the radio project sought to assist broadcasters in recording local music on their own, says Jennifer Lindsay, a former Ford Foundation program officer who now teaches performance studies at the
One of the first steps was to establish a series of workshops that bring together professionals from both fields. To date, more than 100 people from 25 of
Most importantly, the workshops have provided training so that radio programmers and ethnomusicologists can make their own broadcast-quality recordings. A key partner has been Radio France Internationale (RFI), which is renowned for recording and broadcasting music from throughout Africa and
Radio audiences have responded enthusiastically to the broadcasts, says Errol Jonathans, who organizes the project's workshops. Jonathans, a radio programmer in
Moreover, stations in Sulawesi, Bali and
"Arts performances are boring for television audiences because the format has been unsuitable," says Fred Wibowo, director of Yogyarkarta's Studio Audio Visual, which began managing the project in 1997. As part of its effort to expand the project into television, the studio hosted a workshop last year for 40 producers who specialize in arts programming. "We need to encourage broadcasters to develop new ways to document live art and culture," says Wibowo, "so that people can become aware of their own values and be able to participate in democratic society."
Raharjo's dedication to the radio project stems from similar convictions. As a musician and composer who likes to fuse old and new sounds, he worries that
In Music, a Complex Joke
The following excerpt, from liner notes for "Indonesian Guitars," discusses music of the Bugis, the largest ethnic group in
"Among the major forms of entertainment in Bugis rural villages and small towns is a performance by professional kacapi players-two, three or four male singers accompanying themselves on two-stringed plucked lutes ... Kacapi ensembles play for weddings and other domestic celebrations. The central element in a nightlong performance is narrative songs … A show will also contain a number of comic interludes and episodes, called atraksi … [One] revolves around the musician La Podding … When it is time for his atraksi, he retunes his kacapi, attaches a tiny speaker (spul) from an automobile sound system to it as a pickup, and transforms his instrument into a two-stringed electric guitar. What he plays is dangdut, one of the principal forms of national popular music. Sometimes he borrows Indonesian-language dangdut songs from the big
"For the most part, La Podding plays these songs straight, without overt comedy. Seated throughout, with his hands busy on the kacapi, he has no opportunity to imitate dance moves or stagy gestures. Yet his audience finds the songs hilarious. The joke is complex. Partly it lies in the incongruity-glamorous television and recording stars from the big cities summoned to a bamboo platform at a village crossroads; the electric guitar, indeed the whole dangdut band, reproduced on a two-stringed lute. But also, we believe, there is an element of humorous payback: the national, which so often mocks the local as backward and foolish, is here cut down to local size."
Diana Pabst Parsell is a freelance writer based in
Sumber: Majalah FF Report,