Java, the most populous island in the archipelago of over 17,000 islands and 1300 distinct ethnic groups, and its capital city Jakarta, was where most of the post-colonial national identity, politics, administration and music production was centred. Traditional songs from Java, Sumatra, Bali and beyond were reimagined by a small group of state-sponsored musicians that also composed and arranged new music. These songs aimed at consolidating a geographically disparate country with a new language and new ideas of national character.
This compilation brings together a handful of these recordings that combine elements of regional popular music, Islamic Gambus, Javanese & Balinese Gamelan and Kroncong, with jazz, Afro-Latin music & instrumentation, and vocal harmonies infuenced by banned American doo-wop and rock & roll.
The results are a unique blend of styles that have remained mostly insulated from the world outside of Indonesia until a recent worldwide resurgence in the interest of recorded music of all forms has shone a new light on these nearly forgotten recordings.