Now playing in
"Bengawan Solo"
by Gesang


A specific music from Java

When a traveler visiting Java, in Central Java or in Jakarta, sometimes he / she hears a music with special beat , it's so melodious, romantic. The music instruments are western but played in a special way which can not be found in any other part of the world.

One of the famous song is Bengawan Solo (River Solo), composed by Solonese senior artist Mr. GESANG. Bengawan Solo is not heard only in Solo or Indonesia, but its popularity has crossed the border to other countries of South East Asia & Japan . This is " The classic" of Kroncong music . Nowadays , Kroncong still has its valuable place in the world of music entertainment performed in front of the audience, in the television & radio.

The origin of Kroncong Music

This music had been first played around the year 1600 AP . Some people say that it was a modification or influenced by portuquese music.

Mr. Andjar Any, the president of Hamkri (Association of Indonesia Kroncong Artists) Solo branch, categorically says that Kroncong music is purely Indonesian. The 61 year-old artist, a journalist strongly supports his theory. In his profession he has traveled around the world and he did not found any music similar to Kroncong even in Portugal or its ex colony. It is a probability, that our people saw the European played their music with western music instruments hundreds years ago in the old days, the Kroncong had its root in Jakarta with its Kroncong Tugu (Tugu is a village in the coast of Jakarta) & Central Java.

He had composed more than 2000 songs, among other the famous Yen ing Tawang ana lintang (If there are stars in the sky), known by almost Javanese people, as it is in Javanese language. Many of his songs have been sung also in English & Mandarin. Although he has not been asked for approval, he does not mind, he is happy if others could enjoy his composition.

The present Kroncong

In the development, it is quite understandable if Kroncong has a deep root in Yogyakarta & Central Java, it can live in harmony side by side with Javanese gamelan music. In fact Kroncong & Gamelan , they have similarity in their rules of composition.
Kroncong music has push highly some stars of Kroncong such as :
Senior singers of Solo & Yogya, Mrs. Surip with her sparkling ball eyes, Mrs Any Landau, Sapari , S. Darmanto, Ismanto, Bram Aceh and from the younger generation such as Waljinah with her song " Walang Kekek", Mini Satria, Sundari Sukoco, Wiwiek Sumbogo, Mus Mulyadi etc.

Keroncong music sometimes mixed with other instruments & beats.
The compursari music : combining Kroncong & gamelan music instruments innovated by a senior artist , MR, MANTHOUS of Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta, is now very popular.

The Kroncong songs are also sometimes played with REGGAE or DANGDUT beats. According to Andjar Any , this development is not destructive, it is a process, it is a proof that kroncong has a place in the heart of Indonesian society.

(Suryo S. Negoro)

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