Jogja Hip Hop Foundation and Personal Reflection

I just returned from [Jogja Hip Hop Foundation (JHF)’s] [concert in Esplanade]. While it is still fresh in mind, I want to write a few points.

  • Hip hop! Oh my goodness. I never thought I would ever go to a hip hop concert. But there I was, enjoying their performance.
  • I am in general not a fan of rap and hip hop. The first rapper I like ever is Zack de la Rocha, and he is not from a hip hop band, albeit heavily influenced by hip hop. JHF, however, is an exception, and so far they are the only hip hop group I like. By like, I mean really like.
  • Why is it? I notice that there are a romanticism and—as nationalism is not the right word to use here—longing towards my homeland of Jogjakarta, and they certainly fill that niche in my heart and soul. The not-so-recent [controversy] certainly amplified the feeling. When the above “Song of Sabdatama” was played as the opening song, I sang along solemnly, as if it was a natio—I mean, the sultanate anthem.
  • Due to linguistic differences, at one point, JHF tried to establish communications by inviting Singaporean audiences up the stage to introduce some parts of the song they were going to perform next, which is “Cintamu Sepahit Topi Miring”. However, after these spectators failed to get the stage normally, as the stage was apparently not designed for it, and one spectator jumped up the stage, some Esplanade staffs forbade them from going up the stage, or at least that’s how it appeared to me. Marzuki jumped down to the audience seats, which was followed by other members of JHF. Hah, that’s Jogjakartan’s humbleness for you. I impulsively jumped off the seat and clapped on this act. Although I understand there may be valid reasons why Esplanade forbade audience to go up the stage, so far I would rather opt for performer-audience closeness than bureaucracy.
  • The show featured Catur Benyek, a dalang/puppet master. During the performance, he spoke a very polite Javanese…which I mostly don’t understand. This is something which I really really feel ashamed of, because while I claim proficiency in three and a half languages, as a Javanese, I am not well-versed in krama inggil, the most polite level of Javanese language. There is a background to this, among which are this is sort of a global phenomenon among the ethnic Javanese, and I indeed very rarely speak in krama inggil at home, as I usually opt for Indonesian instead. The last time my Dad saw me speak in krama inggil, which was to his friend, he laughed at home. LOL.
  • Suratkhabar Lama, the Singaporean hip hop group who collaborated with JHF, opened the show. I had never heard of them (except for the collaboration) and their songs before, so I expected to get some time to get familiarised with them. Their concept, I think, is similar to JHF’s, in that they incorporate Malay literatures and proverbs in their songs. However, it was only during their third song which I could feel the emotion, and that’s when the group of Malay traditional dancers and musicians entered the stage.
  • The sound system, I think, is something which can be criticised, as I can’t clearly hear the words the performers sang. This is problematic for me as there are songs which I am not really familiar with, and I would really love to hear what Suratkhabar Lama’s songs were about.
  • Soimah is hot…and pethakilan/hyperactive. And she is tall!!
  • So far, this year, I have gone to three concerts: The Radio Dept.’s, Kraftwerk’s, and JHF’s. (I skipped Metallica because it was too expensive, too far away, too ulu/remote, and too late at night; not to mention that they were too old and they lacked Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted.) Among these, JHF is the least globally known, and JHF’s ticket is the least expensive. However, I enjoyed JHF’s performance most compared to the other two.

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