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“Music has a variety of distinct audiences, one way of approaching a universally applicable response is by looking at the activities we undertake in its presence,” Allan F. Moore said in his book Analyzing Popular Music.
Seeing the audience enthusiastic, readily taking photos and watching in amazement while Soesah Tidoer was performing on stage, was quite a scene. From Indonesia to Miri, Sarawak, Soesah Tidoer (in English, Insomnia) performed for the very first time on October 4 at the first edition of the Asia Music Festival. Consisting of eight members, the band successfully performed a diverse set representing the spirit of ‘gotong royong’, which can be described as a community where people help one another and work together in harmony, without financial benefits but for the sole purpose of the betterment of the community.
In this way, Soesah Tidoer mixes its music to showcase not just the band as a whole but the band as individuals whose contribution is essential to producing music that is unique and modern. Toonari Post had an opportunity to meet the band for a short exchange. In the interview, Doni Riwayanto on electric guitar and vocal elaborated on the bands background, saying “Soesah Tidoer has eight members who have different backgrounds, such as sculptor, academic musician, interior designer, buskers, and many more and because of this diversity, Soesah Tidoer can create a rich musical experience for its audience.”
Riwayanto, spoke of the band’s style and inspiration, saying, “the two grass roots genres in Indonesia are known as ‘dangdut’ and ‘keroncong’, both being blended by Soesah Tidoer in a new style, with the addition of other popular genres such as rock, blues, and jazz. With such a combination, Soesah Tidoer can provide a unique musical presence.” To get the desired sounds, melodies, and rhythms, the band combines instruments from different genres, like the ‘ketipung’ from the ‘dangdut’ genre, a unique instrument that sounds like a bongo, the cello, ‘cak’ (cakalele), and ‘cuk’ (ukulele) from the ‘keroncong’ genre, as well as acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass guitar, flute, and saxophone from other popular genres.
Aside from Riwayanto, Soesah Tidoer is composed of Suparyanto (Parlo) on Ketipung and Lead Vocal, Arif Suryawardana on acoustic electric guitar and vocal, Dwi Laksono on cello and vocal, Sunu Kuswanto on ‘cuk’ and vocal, Agus Susanto on ‘cak’ and vocal, Yudha Sasmito on saxophone and flute, and Fergie Damon on electric bass guitar. Soesah Tidoer was established in August 1999 by Wien Dwi Laksono, a popular and mature sculptor from Yogyakarta Indonesia.
At the festival, Soesah Tidoer performed several hits of their own: ‘Dendam Merindu’ following the genre of Dangdut and Keroncong, ‘Baju Manusia’ a mix of Keroncong, Dangdut, Blues, and Jazz, ‘Soesah Tidoer’ in Keroncong and Melayu, and lastly their closing song and people’s favorite ‘Goyang Merdeka’ a mix of Dangdut, Keroncong, and Rock. They played a total of eight songs and were able to keep the crowd on their feet throughout their set.
Asia Music Festival 2013 was their first international performance as a group. The band will be performing again this November 16 at NgaYogJazz in Indonesia and are currently recording new songs for their second album to be released sometime this year or at the beginning of 2014. Their first album was titled “Baju Manusia” in English meaning Human Clothes.
Coming up next, are more band highlights from the Asia Music Festival, featuring Hevance and Tritha. This event was organized by Sarawak Tourism Board and supported by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia.
Image Credit: Sarawak Tourism Board