Kotak – from talent shows to MTV fame  

It was Indonesia's TV7 2004 ‘The Dream Band' competition that set this band on the road to fame and fortune. At that event, vocalist Julia Angelia Lepar (aka Pare), guitarist Mario Marcella (aka Cella), drummer Haposan Haryanto Tobing (aka Posan) and bassist Prinzes Amanda (aka Icez) impressed the talent-spotting panel to scoop the competition prize. Following on from their success, not to mention the widespread exposure on the popular TV show, the so-called ‘dream band' began working on their debut album. This was eponymously titled Kotak and was released by Warner Music Indonesia in 2005.
There are 10 songs on this album, which capture the band's trademark sound of pop-orientated rock music, or rock-tinged pop, depending on which side of the musical spectrum you happen to be on!
As appears to be the case for a great number of rock bands, phenomenal chart success and fan acclaim was balanced with some turbulent internal politics. The line-up of the band seldom remained stable for any lengthy period of time. Pare and Icez departed in 2007, with the vacant lead vocalist spot being assumed by Tantri Syalindri (aka Tantri), and the bass guitar role going to Swasti Sabdastantri (aka Chua). Shortly afterwards drummer Posan took his sticks elsewhere.
The follow-up to the acclaimed first album was released in 2008 and entitled Kodak Kedua. A sample from this album, ‘Energi: Tendangan Dari Langit' or ‘Energy: kicks from the sky', was converted into a ring-back tone. As of 2013 this musical snippet has been downloaded in excess of one million times.
Two years later their third album, Energi, was followed by Energi Repackage. Prolific songwriters and recording artists, Kotak followed this with a further two albums over 2012 and 2013: Terbaik and KFC Adu Bintang.
Amongst the many accolades earned by the band was the title of ‘Favorite Breakthrough Artist' at the MTV (Indonesia) awards in 2009. Their vocalist, Tantri, accepted Best Rock Band/Group and Best Rock Album awards at AMI the same year. Kotak were also voted ‘Best Newcomer Group' by Anugerah Planet Music.
As well as being appreciated in their native Indonesia, the band has spread their wings, playing in Singapore after being personally invited there to perform at Muzik FM. This concert was arranged by Superstar and Legends, in conjunction with Raistar Entertainment.
There are many reasons for the enduring success of this young band. Having a strong female vocalist is always a plus in the rock world. Tantri can certainly belt out a rock song, coping well with being heard above the shrieking rock guitar and thunderous rhythm section. If you want to get an excellent idea of what Kotak are capable of, there are many exciting links available on YouTube. One of these is entitled ‘The Biggest Indonesian Rock Concert Performance by Kotak'. This shows a full-blooded clip of the band playing before thousands of adoring fans. The stage-set projects into the audience, allowing Tantri to strut across the stage, then march right into the crowd. You sense that the adoring fans closest to the front are more than delighted to receive such a fabulous ring-side view of their heroes – well, hero and heroines!

Indonesians and Miley Cyrus  
There is a popular saying that equates taste with marmite, a sticky brown food spread that is widely used in Australasia, the Pacific and beyond. Because it has such a distinctive taste, it is known to polarize opinion – you either love it or hate it. Well the same could well be said about the young American pop singer, Miley Cyrus. Her increasingly provocative stage antics have certainly got tongues wagging and excitable fingers tweeting right across the planet.
Nowhere has taste been so divided than Indonesia. While many Indonesians have taken to social media to decry her attention-seeking outbursts, not to mention her formulaic pop singing, there are obviously droves of fans out there who can see beyond her shameless publicity stunts. After all, her most recent single, Wrecking Ball, has soared up the Indonesian Singles Charts.
Awards and Achievements
She can now be seen as one of the most successful artists who began their careers with the Disney Channel. Amongst her plaudits she has had no fewer than five consecutive number one albums in the US Billboard 100 (two being soundtracks to the series where she played the titular teenage character Hannah Montana). She recently ranked number 13 on Forbes Celebrity 100 – the annual compilation of most powerful celebrities, based on several factors, including total Google hits. The 2011 Guinness Book of Records named her ‘Most Charted Teenager', with 29 Billboard Hot 100 entries. MTV named her ‘Artist of the Year' in 2013.
Has often proved to be very difficult making the transition from child star to adult entertainer. But Miley Cyrus has managed to pull this off with some headline-grabbing stage performances. There is nothing new about overtly sexual acts being used to entertain audiences and, more importantly, sell records (check out Madonna!) But where Miley has really made an impact is in employing the modern phenomenon of viral advertising. Put it this way, until fairly recently, very few people were aware of the definition of the strange sounding verb ‘twerking'. Perhaps more than anyone else, Miley has been responsible for this word entering lexicography right across the globe.
This term basically covers any type of dance that is designed to provoke with a series of thrusting hip movements. It has been suggested that the word itself is a combination of twist and jerk, originating in New Orleans street-dancing. But the craze really hit the public eye when Miley Cyrus ‘twerked' while performing with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV awards. Images of her gyrating on-stage were beamed to television viewers across the globe, and then tweeted and re-tweeted ad infinitum on Twitter, and discussed and debated in blogs and forums right across the information super highway.
One of the reasons why Miley has been going to such lengths to get noticed is undoubtedly a desire to put distance between herself and the sweet, wholesome, Southern-accented Hannah Montana, the archetypal Disney star. But at the end of the day, the Indonesians who have been downloading ‘Wrecking Ball' by the thousands haven't been doing so because of some daft dance craze. It is because Miley does sing some very catchy pop songs. Like them or hate them, you'll find yourself humming her songs on your way to work in the morning!
Why rock fans should go to Purgatory  
Musical styles come and go. Purgatory, an Indonesian rock band, lasted from 1991 until 2000. Nine years is certainly not a brief lifespan for a band, especially when compared to some pop performers.
Acts you see in the charts now are often the titles of the CDs that end up being flogged in street markets for cents. Yes, pop, by its very nature, is a fickle business. Those cheesy chart melodies with their devilishly catchy choruses are only intended to be listened to today; forgotten by tomorrow. In this way, the next young pretender can quickly assume pole position in the conveyor belt of fame.
Although there can be no denying that a lot of rock music satisfies the same criteria as pop. It can be extremely catchy, with a huge potential audience. But it is crucial to make the distinction between rock and pop because pop is invariably transient, whereas classic rock endures. And there is one name that should be added to all those names that are still downloaded from online music stores on a daily basis, long after the original band has either split, or its members have died, or both. Next time you're browsing through The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, or a host of others, think about a band called Purgatory.
Purgatory were an Indonesian band that this formed in 1991, roundabout the time that US grunge exponents Nirvana were making such huge shockwaves right across the global rock audience. At that time a bunch of friends got together to cover songs by Obituary and Sepultura. They picked the name for the band, not from any religious texts, but from the cult horror movie A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The initial line-up for Purgatory was Al on drums, Lutfie and Arief on guitars, and Hendrie on bass guitar and vocals. Their first release came four years later with an EP that was entitled Abyss Call. Shortly after this a compilation album was released, Metalik Klinik 1, with one track supplied by the band, Sakaratul Maut. A proper Purgatory album followed, entitled Ambang Kepunahan.
Just as the band were never content with simply regurgitating songs by the likes of Sepultura there always debate about which particular genre to pursue. Certainly their earlier material bears all the hallmarks of ‘Death Metal', where any sense of melody is buried very deeply beneath a morass of thrashing guitars and furiously accelerating rhythms. By the turn of the decade they had decided to add another vocalist, as well as a DJ, to add further dimensions to their performances. In addition to this, they also decided to wear masks.
Their second studio album, 7:172, released in 2003, reflected this departure from the two-dimensional straitjacket of Death Metal, into the more potentially audience-friendly arena of Nu Metal. Although there is a song on one of their subsequent albums which name-checks Death Metal exponents Napalm Death, their sound was far from just a rabid-noise with vocals that were growled into a microphone rather than sung.
Three of the best Dewa 19 videos  
Over the years, Dewa 19 have been one of the most consistently popular rock outfits to have emerged from Indonesia. Here is our run-down of some of the band's YouTube highlights.
If you don't already have this superb album in your collection, then here is the next best thing. By going to YouTube you can click on a link that contains the entire album. Already watched by nearly 200,000 site users, the 1995 release was both critically and audience-acclaimed. Lasting for 47 minutes and 34 seconds, set your YouTube channel to play in the background, perhaps through connected speakers, and you can enjoy listening to one of Indonesia's most talented rock exponents. There are no slideshows or movies showing in the background, but that's because the full album is there to be listened to. If you want to make a montage of separate Dewa 19 videos, that's up to you.
Kamulah Satu Satunya
With 210,000 YouTube hits, this video epitomizes the ‘good times' vibe of the band. The track itself is seriously upbeat, with catchy hooks and harmonies that are guaranteed to bring a smile anyone's lips. The upbeat rock track definitely has a hint of US alt country to it, from the jangly rhythm guitars to the ‘oohs' and ‘aahs' in the backing vocals. There's even a checked shirt in evidence as Dewa 19 jam their song from a stage, inspiring various couples to get up and dance. A delicious guitar riff sweeps the song along to its climax just short of four minutes. In many ways, a perfect slice of Indonesian pop.
Pandawa Lima
Here the band's 1995 album is available to be listened to in its entirety. Lasting for 50 effortlessly cool minutes, the opening track, Kirana, is a delicious slice of laid-back middle-of-the-road rock, where a steady rhythm is attacking by jarring power chords and tremolo-effects on the guitars. The melody itself floats along on this sold base, working towards choruses that are augmented by keyboards. This is definitely the sound of a band firing on all cylinders, with catchy music that would fit so many different scenarios – film soundtracks, commercials, open-air festivals. A special mention must go to the lead vocals, which really carry the song with a strident melody.
Track two, Aku Disini Untukmu, starts off with an insistent acoustic guitar riff, punctuated with keyboard notes, and augmented by a slightly off-key melody. By the time the chorus comes along, the band have settled into a more conventional rocky outlook. Other highlights include the ultra-groovy Suara Alam, which even has some ‘jungle sound effects' going on in the background! The music is a power ballad that is absolutely perfect for summer music festivals. Crashing chords with a touch of wah-wah on the guitar help to create the perfect feel-good vibe. This track demonstrates exactly why Dewa 19 have been so phenomenally successful in their home country of Indonesia, and far beyond.
With so many good tunes it is nigh on impossible to select a stand-out track – this will be down to personal taste. The album closes as it began, with a gently uplifting country rock piece, entitled Kamulah Satu-Satunya. You'll be left with a warm glow long after you've finished listening to this remarkable album on YouTube.
Recommended Kotak videos   
Kotak started out in life as a ‘Dream Band', first spotted on a national talent competition back in 2004. For that reason many purist music fans have been dismissive of the group's place in the Indonesian rock scene. Because they're perceived as being ‘not authentic enough', they were not treated with the same respect as those musicians who found fame the hard way – working their way up through relentless gigging in small clubs. However, Kotak have gone on to prove their detractors wrong with a series of excellent albums.
A terrific place to really get to know the band, if you don't already, is to check out their videos on YouTube. Tendangan Dari Langit, viewed by well over half a million viewers so far, is one of their most popular music video moments.
The film uses the technique of melding the band's driving rock music with the equally powerful world of sport. Both activities have much in common. They attract legions of devotees and the best of the action often takes place inside large arenas, in front of thousands of passionate fans. In this case, as the band launch into their song with a melodic but powerful guitar riff, they are surrounded by enthusiastic cheerleaders gyrating in time to the music.
All the other Kotka trademarks are present and correct. Tantri leads the vocal assault in her inimitable style, her beautiful voice strong enough to shine through the power chords. Cella's guitar is played hard and slung-low, allowing him to brandish the instrument with a swagger reminiscent of the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards (a long, long time ago!) As Kotak weave their catchy choruses, they bop around in the middle of a grassy pitch as if they are limbering up for a crucial athletics or football event. There is even a smoke machine behind the drummer coughing out great orange clouds!
At 2:15 Cella works a mesmerizing solo into the song. Reflecting the drama of the moment, a young footballer is depicted going to great lengths to improve his game. At one point he appears to be playing football on a rocky landscape, kicking the ball towards crevasses. When the action switches back to the band we see them surrounded by various coloured balls, as if they themselves have been involved in some form of rigorous training.
At 2:30 Cella's name flares on the back of his top, as if he has morphed into a football star. Arms aloft, he takes the crowd's acclaim, while holding a flare that spews out coloured smoke dramatically. The other band members follow suit, lifting their flares victoriously, while a multitude of cameras flash in the arena's tiered stands. By this point all the instruments have dropped out of the mix, except for a relentless martial drumbeat that is urging the band to victory.
As the song builds towards its climax, young footballers are shown practicing on desert landscapes; later, red-bedecked crowds swell the stadium to shout on their approval.
This is a perfect blend of strident, powerful rock music, and a video that enhances the band's performance by linking it with the struggles and triumphs of soccer. By the end of the song you'll be punching the air yourself! is an entertainment hub that provides the latest news on the world of music in Indonesia.

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Judika gig in Singapore  

Indonesian pop icon Judika is scheduled to entertain his fans in Singapore on 29 September 2014. Rated as Indonesia's number #1 male artiste, Judika is set to rock Esplanade Concert Hall with his hits such as 'Aku Yang Disakiti' and Mencari Cinta. This versatile artiste gained foothold in the music industry after becoming the runner up in the Indonesian Idol Season 2.
There is no doubt that Judika Sihotang, or commonly known by his stage name Judika, is the #1 male singer/artiste in Indonesia. Judika has eluded our shores many times due to his hectic domestic schedule. We are please to announce the day has finally come for Singapore fans to catch their idol.
Event Title: Judika Live In Singapore 2014
Date: 29th September 2014
Venue: Esplanade Concert Hall

Time: 7.30pm (Doors open at 7.00pm)
Sistic ticket Info:
Cat 1: $168 (VIP include Meet & Greet) Limited tickets
Cat 2: $118
Cat 3: $108
Cat 4: $98
Cat 5: $88
Cat 6: $68
All prices exclude Sistic ticket charges
Judika Nalon Abadi Sihotang or popularly known as Judika is an Indonesian singer. Blessed with a unique husky voice, Judika started singing since young. In the early years of his career, Judika formed a vocal group with his friends Roy, Juneidi and Jonathan. The group performed in local 5-star hotels.
Judika has a burning desire to become a superstar. He participated in a talent competition, ‘Bahana Suara Pelajar'. Judika won the competition in Sumatra Utara and came in 3rd in the National competition. Judika's biggest break came when he took part in “Indonesian Idol'. (Season 2). He overcame millions of participants across Indonesia. Judika clinched the runner-up position in the competition.
Two years after Indonesian Idol, Judika's first album was released. The album titled ‘ONE', consist of 10 beautifully written songs. Judika's 1st single ‘Bukan Rayuan Gombal' became a success and shot Judika to stardom. It's music, coupled with Judika's special vocals that made the song to be an instant hit.
Judika's 2nd album, ‘Setengah Mati Merindu' was released in 2012. The album, which consists of the singles ‘Aku Yang Tersakiti' and ‘Setengah Mati Merindu', became a success not only in Indonesia but also in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. Judika was awarded the Multiplatinum Award from Sony Music Entertainment, Indonesia.
Singing achievements: Indonesian Idol Season 2 – Runner-up Male Singer of the Year – Indonesian Choice Awards 2014 Best Male Singer – Anugerah Planet Music 2013 Multiplainum Award – Sony Music Entertainment, Indonesia
The best Netral videos on YouTube  
One of Indonesia's premier bands, a great way to get to know Netral's dark but mesmerizing blend of modern rock is to check out their YouTube videos. Garuda Di Dadaku 2 is one of the best you can tap into on the search engine of the world's most popular music video site.
With over 100,00 hits, Director Angga Dwimas Sasongko's short film of this track is proving a consistent target for Netral's legion of followers. The central theme of the video is football, and this proves to be a strong allegory for music itself. Just as a soccer contest involves skill, athletic flair, passion and speed, the driving rock soundtrack is itself a pulsating force. The dexterous fretboard skills perfectly complement the young athletes performing wonders on the football arena.
The video opens with a ‘group huddle', the moment that precedes many football matches when the team gather in a circle, heads bowed, in order to strengthen their common bonds and shared ambition. This is definitely apt for the music to follow. The track itself commences with its own version of a communal ‘huddle' – the bass, guitar and drums kicking off in perfect synchronization, united by a common goal to entertain.
As Netral get into the groove, the camera pulls back to reveal banks of television screens behind the drummer. This is interwoven with a big soccer encounter. Again, we can see where the director is making the connection between the two events. Both activities have the potential to bring together eager hordes of fans. If a camera were to pan a gathering of young people baying enthusiastically, unless you were party to what they were actually looking at you would never be able to tell the difference. The passion of the rock fan and the passion of the football devotee are simply two sides of the same coin.
At 1:10 the action takes an interesting twist as we see the video's young protagonist getting into his training regime, his face the picture of determination. Whether he's rushing through back alleys en route to his lift to the training ground, or he's struggling along with all his teammates to keep up with the intensive coaching sessions, his spirit shines through. What makes us truly appreciate the intensity of what he's putting himself through is when the director cuts back to the band. The lead guitar is relentless, the notes from a beautiful-looking Gibson Les Paul singing from the amp stacks. The rhythm section is particularly good at what they do, with the drums and solid bass-lines driving the track; just as the young soccer star's laced-up boots propel him along the pitch towards the goal line.
At 1:52 the music breaks down from the main riff to a shifting instrumental. The tension builds in the video as various dramas occur. The central character's team is losing a crucial game; he falls out with various people, including the coach, then tears off his captain's arm band. Reflecting this turn of events, the televisions behind the band shatter metaphorically. But a martial drumbeat accompanies the boy as he leads his team onto the arena, the bass player pounding his own chest with his fist to symbolize the power of the moment. Young fans congregate around the stadium, proudly brandishing the national Indonesian red and white flags, urging their team to victory.
Nidji – YouTube highlights  
Liberty and Victory
The official music video for Liberty and Victory is certainly a suitably inspiring anthem for any football club. Manchester United have a massive fan base, not just in England and other parts of the UK, but right across the globe. Nowhere is this support more fanatical than in the Far East, which is why a dynamic band like Nidji are perfect to perform this rousing slice of pop rock.
Singing in English, there are clips of the band playing their instruments inside the players' tunnel leading to the hallowed pitch of Old Trafford in Manchester. The action is interspersed with shots of United footballers showing off their silky skills at ‘keepy up', and at one point vocalist Giring Ganesha performs as an airline pilot! The band also clearly relish donning the famous ‘red devil' football shirts as they sing along, while stars of the United first team like England internationalist Wayne Rooney look on, grinning enthusiastically.
‘Take me down to your victory, I don't know what you did to me tonight, I'll be happy to fight for love', goes the adamant chorus, coupled with impassioned verse lyrics along the lines of ‘ride the ocean's tide of life'. Amongst the other footage on the video are the band performing the tarck, surrounded by adoring fans, on the top of an open-deck bus. At the song's conclusion the band members stride out of the tunnel into the vast arena of Old Trafford stadium, fists clenched high in the air. The legend superimposed on the film states: ‘No room for average. No settling for second best. No compromise'. As this fades out, there is a clip of the fanatical fans inside the ground chanting ‘Glory glory Man United'.
Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta
The video for this melodic pop song showcases the band's more sensitive side. A simple verse is strummed on acoustic guitar, floating along, occasionally dipping into minor chords that provide the perfect counterbalance. The video itself consists of a collage of shots featuring heartfelt vocals, set against a backdrop of a mysterious attractive girl.
At 2:36 the track suddenly hits a climax, as the guitar spirals off into a punchy solo, while the rest of the instrumentation provides a series of harmonies. At this point the film shows, variously, kids playing with fireworks, then a couple on a bus who are clearly going through some sort of emotional issues – which are resolved, as the girl's sombre expression dissolves into a smile while she accepts her boyfriend's hand.
This YouTube video has already amassed 835,000 hits.
Taken from their phenomenally successful ‘Top Up' album, Birlah clearly demonstrates the band's debt to English alt rockers Coldplay. Driven by piano chords, the vocals surge towards impassioned peaks. The band footage is filmed with spotlights soaring behind, creating silhouettes. The effective storyline of the accompanying video shows a young couple, and when the boy dons headphones, the backing track dips accordingly, cementing the music to the narrative of the video. This persists as he lifts up then puts his headphones back on. Obviously the song has some deeper significance for him. This is an emotion that has also struck a chord with Nidji's audience, as over one million viewers have latched onto this video.
Maudy Ayunda - Indonesian popstar  
Not that many people are aware of Maudy Ayunda outside of her native Indonesia, but this is sure to change over the next few years. Born in 1994, this actress and singer is still a teenager (until December this year at any rate). Yet at the tender age of 19 she has demonstrated ample evidence of her outstanding talent.
Born Faza Ayunda Maudia in Jakarta, she made her 2006 film debut in Rena, the eponymous story of an 11-year old orphan. Her next project was in The Dreamer in 2009, which went on to become the opening film in the Jakarta International Film Festival on 2009 – the first Indonesian feature to hold this honour since the first ever festival 10 years previously. The Dreamer has the accolade of being the second highest-grossing Indonesian movie ever, with a total audience of 1.9 million.
Now a firmly-established movie star, even at such a young age, Maudy went on to perform in several roles throughout 2011 and 2012. She played the part of Mura in Angel Without Wings, a dramatic departure after some of her earlier parts.
What audiences can really identify with Maudy are her gutsy down-to-earth performances and characters. She herself states, that in terms of appearance, she regards herself as being girly but not overtly feminine. This is in contrast to many of her roles, where the characters love wearing jeans and baggy tops. In real life Maudy prefers wearing shorter dresses and matching heels. This, of course, makes sense. After all, any actor is merely playing a character, and very few are identical no matter what side of the camera they are on.
Maudy never takes her stardom for granted – in fact, you get the sense that she would baulk at that very notion of being referred to as a star. She once stated: “I feel very lucky. Every opportunity can just slip away if we do not take it. I believe that an opportunity may not come around twice, so I will definitely snatch it”.
She certainly takes her roles very seriously. In preparing for her character in her acclaimed performances in Paper Boat and Paper Boat 2, she was accompanied on Jakarta's public transport by the films' assistant director, in order to build an understanding of the character she would be playing. While doing this research she gained first hand experience of how frustrating the daily commute can be for the ordinary Indonesian public. She said “I was a bit shocked. I took the Kopaja public bus but it did not move for 15 minutes. This waiting may reduce productivity in the country as it makes the passengers tired and in a bad mood, affecting their performance at work”.
This did not affect her own performance in front of the cameras as she proved to be a consummate professional on set at all times. Like many actors before her, Maudy's critical and audience claim has inspired her to expand her horizons. She is now pursuing a career in music, having sung on two albums: Call Me, from 2011, and on the soundtrack to the aforementioned film, Paper Boat, from 2012. With her single By My Side currently setting the Indonesian charts alight, it seems as if there is no end to her talent.
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