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Kekal

  

Jeff and Levi

Kekal are a heavy metal and electronic fusion band which formed in 1995 in Jakarta, Indonesia, and is still operating, although under slightly unusual circumstances. Kekal was one of the first heavy metal bands from Southeast Asia to make an impression on the international music market, and they have left an impression on the global metal scene.

While considered heavy metal by most, those with a more refined ear for heavier music will tell you that Kekal are an experimental band who mostly produce black metal, progressive metal and avant-garde metal, but who also incorporate a range of influences from diverse genres such as ambient, jazz fusion, electronic and progressive rock. While starting out as a more stereotypical example of a metal band, the group have refined their sound over time into something more experimental and electronic to keep up with the ever changing sound of the metal market, and have even gone as far as using electronic autotuned vocals on top of black metal riffs. For those who like to indulge in a bit of metal music, it is interesting, technical, and extremely virtuosic in moments.
The bands first official demo was supposedly recorded in band member Jeff Arwadi's bedroom on a Foster X-28 4-track tape recorder and a $2 karaoke microphone, yet still after going into circulation managed to catch the attention of several record labels in the metal scene outside of Southeast Asia, and soon the band were sent several record deals. Their first album, “Beyond the Glimpse of Dreams” was self produced and released in 1998, and was released on two record labels allowing the band to gain an international recognition across Europe and the USA. Despite one member leaving the band, they released their second album “Embrace the Dead” the following year. There was a fair amount of dissatisfaction with their second album due to the fact that the band members felt pressured to try to appeal to a more mainstream audience, and so their third album “The Painful Experience”, actually titled after the singer's endurance of the recording of the second album, raised the band back up to their reputation of being experimental and anti-mainstream.
in 2006, the founding member of the band, Jeff, decided to move to Canada which left the rest of the group in a purgatory state, and fans questioning whether or not the group had gone their separate ways, however the band decided to endure and carry on, although only as a studio project, releasing “The Habit of Fire” in 2007 to critical acclaim. In 2009, officially all of the members left the band, although the name would still continue, just without any members. Jeff announced he was leaving the band, and many fans thought this was the end of Kekal's musical career.
Despite this, in 2010 the band announced that they were working on a new album. Although all of the members of the band had officially left, many former members, including Jeff, were all contributing, and in 2011 they released their eighth album, suitably titled “8”. Despite not being a conventional band and operating mostly as a studio project, the band still functions today and has released new material under their new circumstances.
The band have had many influences over the years, and considers itself “street progressive” which suggests that they have an edgier, punk-like feel which is more reminiscent of The Mars Volta instead of typical progressive bands like Dream Theater. The band themselves have quoted their influences as mostly heavy metal bands from the 80s, such as Iron Maiden, Helloween and Sodom, although due to their diverse and experimental style, elements from music such as A-ha, Björk, Outcast, Massive Attack and Depeche Mode are also present in their music, even if only as fluctuating influeces. They are also a heavily christian band, and although this has had an influence on their lyrics, the band claim that they are not an example of Christian metal.
The band, since the beginning, has had control over their music, production, and artwork, giving them the power to create exactly what they have envisioned and to be completely independent, which is very reflective in their cutting edge sounds. Despite having a questionable future, we hope to see more of their experimental sounds gracing our speakers in the future.

 

Slank

  

Slank

Slank are a very long running and very successful rock band from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. It was founded by some teenagers in a street alley called Gang Potlot in 1983, and as of 2017 they have released 22 studio albums, 4 live albums, 3 international albums and been featured in 3 movie soundtracks. They sing in both English and Indonesian, and have become very well known in the Indonesian music scene and as a result have become an influence for many Asian rock bands such as Dewa who formed as a result of their inspiration.

Slank have a very classic rock sound, somewhat reminiscent of bands like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Def Leppard. There are a lot of big drum beats, distorted and driving guitar, melodic yet assertive lyrics and bluesy instrumental solos, reminiscent of many iconic 80s rock groups. Although their sound has become somewhat more refined over time, they have stuck very strongly to their roots and kept their music fun, upbeat, and full of energy.
The band started it's life under the name Red Devil, however after deciding this sounded slanderous and rebellious, possibly due to Indonesia's religious rich culture, they changed their name to Slank. It took seven years until their first album, “Suit Suit…hehehe”, was released with high success, becoming a smash hit and an inspiration for many other bands. “Suit suit…hehehe” and their following two albums, 1991's Kampungan and 1993's “P**s”, gained awards from BASF Indonesia as the best selling albums on BASF tapes, and subsequently, their fourth album, 1994's “Generasi Biru” went multi-platinum, gaining them several top ten places with multiple songs. Since then, they have been going strong, sometimes releasing more than one album a year to commercial success, and have increased their profile and toured all over the world. In 2005, Slank became the first icon of MTV Indonesia.
Despite several band member defections due to internal tension and personal issues, the band has undergone several lineup changes over the years, but have still maintained a strong presence in the Indonesian rock scene throughout. They have, on several occasions, caused political controversy in Indonesia, but have still managed to keep going regardless of these problems.
2009's “Anthem for the Broken Hearted” was Slank's first English language album, and came as a result of travelling to the USA. It was produced by Blues Saraceno, a virtuoso guitarist who has worked with Poison, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker from Cream and Ziggy Marley, as well as an established producer in Los Angeles. Abdee Negara from Slank quoted “If you want the world to see what you want to say, you better to go the highest mountain. And for music, the highest mountain right now is in the USA”, and so they set forth to conquer the English speaking rock scene. Although releasing several songs in English, this has been the only album entirely in the English language from the band so far, and it is reflective of the classic style that the band is known for despite being crafted for a more westernised ear.
in 2009, the band was invited to play at the world renowned Java Jazz Festival. The band, not very experienced in Jazz, were surprised, but after being challenged by Peter F Gontha to perform in a jazz setting, rearranged their most popular hits into a jazz style to create a jazz/rock fusion to much success. The show was described as a “once in a lifetime experience”, and hasn't been replicated since.
Slank also have a cult following from their years of hard work on the Indonesian rock circuit. Dedicated fans of the band refer to themselves as “Slankers” and have a reputation for being completely devoted to everything that the band does and stands for, and range from all ages from children to adults.
It takes a lot of guts to have a classic rock band with classic rock ideals in a heavily religious setting like Indonesia, but Slank have proven that it is possible to succeed. If their previous career is anything to go by, we can expect hard rock music from them long into the future, no matter what life throws at them.

 

Sunny Side Up Tropical Festival

  

Sunny Side Up Tropical Festival indonesian music

Located on the beautiful and tropical island of Bali, this popular August event is a two day music festival which attracts plenty of local talent as well as international headliners, artists and DJs from a huge variety of different genres to entertain a huge crowd of spectators in a boutique and intimate setting around a single stage in the pool areas of an award winning beach side hotel. While only operating since 2014, this festival has already gained international recognition and has become a very big event for Bali. Past events have included large names such as Disclosure, Azealia Banks, Charli XCX, the Grammy nominated Big Sean, Ellie Goulding, Mark Ronson and Holy Ghost, and as the festival strengthens it's foundations, becomes more established and more popular, we can expect exceptional talent to grace the stage in the future. 21 JULY & 12 August, 2018 - POTATO HEAD BEACH CLUB BALI.

As well as hosting fantastic live music from established electronic artists and DJ's, the festival has become well renowned for it's world class cocktails and mixology provided by the hotel, and there are plenty of drinks stalls set up amongst local food stands to ensure you have a cultural and exciting dining experience where you can enjoy the local cuisine while enjoying the live music.
The event is located at The Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak which has been named as one of the best vacation spots in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, and has hosted a whole sleuth of superstar names within the luxurious hotel rooms. The club's unique design and tropical oceanfront setting provide an interesting yet idyllic location for a music festival. One of the really unique features of the festival is that right in front of the stage there is a huge swimming pool where spectators can get up close to the performers whilst partying in the water. Amongst the palm trees, the festival is adjacent to a beautiful Indonesian beach where you can take an evening stroll to watch the sunset, all while enjoying the background noise of the musical talents from the festival. As the club is also a hotel, you can book special accommodation and festival packages leading up to the event for an all inclusive deal, which also means you won't have to stray too far from your bedroom for your breakfast, entertainment, and to the picture perfect white sand beach.
For lovers of electronic music, it really could not be more fantastic; a beachfront setting with a huge pool, world class cocktails and world renowned artists. What more could you ask for? The event is hosted during peak tourist season in Bali, when the often monsoon swept beaches of the island experience their most stable weather, so conditions are as perfect as they can get.
The festival is organised by Ismaya live who are the passionate brains behind many popular events in Indonesia, including the Djakarta Warehouse Project and Ultra Beach Bali. Ismaya have been operating since 2011 as a leading lifestyle company and have broken records with their events.
The festival also likes to support environmental and green initiatives. In 2016 the stage facade was made entirely from recycled wood which had been cut into shingles and hung in a kinetic installation that would sway in the wind and with the music. The organisers pride themselves on using locally sourced and recycled materials to create the temporary venue, supporting a demand for more sustainable living and also supporting the local economy and communities.
More information on the festival can be found on the offical website (sunnysideupfest.com) as well as ticket bookings, upcoming lineups, accomodation offers, photo galleries, promotional videos and information on the hosts of the event. Be sure to book your tickets quickly, as they tend to sell out quickly. If you are travelling to the festival from abroad, why not take a few extra days off work to extend your vocation and to explore the beautiful beaches and locations in Bali and Indonesia for a truly unforgettable experience? Bali is one of the most fantastic travel destinations for techno and club music, dance clubs and epic parties, as well as being rich in culture and natural beauty, and will satisfy any traveller to the region.

 

Music Venues in Bali

  

omnia pool party

Bali is world renowned as an electronic music and clubbers paradise, with people travelling from every corner of the planet to immerse themselves in the thriving nightlife, however, below the flashing lights and lively parties there are a number of places where live music performers take to the stage to steal the spotlight and to entertain a different crowd. For those of you looking to leave behind packed out clubs for something a little more refined and relaxed, here are a few places worth checking out during your stay in Bali to encounter some talented local musicians.

Laughing Buddha Bar - Located in Ubud and about halfway up from the Ubud Monkey Forest, this is one of the most popular and liveliest music venues in Bali, attracting some of the most talented performers due to the popularity and well established status of the bar, and has also become a popular spot for musicians who are releasing new albums and LPs. The venue hosts a variety of bands, but more often than not, this is a perfect spot to check out the island's best jazz and blues musicians who provide regular performances. As well as jazz and blues, there are fusion performances, latin, freestyle acoustic and plenty of world music. Performances are every evening from around 9.00pm. The cosy interior provides an intimate setting where musicians can really connect with their audiences, and the venue also offers a full menu for those wishing to indulge in some local cuisine while they indulge in some local culture.
Zibiru Restaurant - Hidden away in Seminyak on the Jalan Drupadi side street, this chic Italian restaurant offers some of Bali's best Italian cuisine as well as a romantic and cosy setting for dinner, as well as a rooftop space for starlit dinners. As it is slightly off the main street, the bustling and busy sounds from outside are well muted providing a relaxing setting for the nightly entertainment of smooth jazz and soul music to accompany your evening meal. On Saturday evenings, the venue hosts a jazz fusion rock back under the name of Urban Groove who put their unique spin on popular classics from artists such as Radiohead and The Police, turning them into luscious, raw and smooth jazz. For one of the most atmospheric and relaxing meals possible, be sure to add this restaurant to your to-do list in Bali.
Ryoshi - Also located in Seminyak, this Japanese restaurant has made a name for itself since experimenting with live jazz nights on it's deck, protected from the elements by a thatched roof. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the venue hosts performances from the islands most popular jazz musicians and soloists including a house quintet. Other notable musicians who frequently play here are Nancy Ponto and The Soul Brothers, the Rio Sidik Quartet and Afronesia. As well as hosting a plethora of excellent musicians, the venue is an established sushi restaurant with a relaxed and chilled-out setting which attracts an international clientele of Japanese tourists, locals, and since becoming more popular, tourists from all over the world.
Hard Rock Centerstage - One of the better known venues in Bali is located in the Hard Rock Hotel across the road from Kuta Beach. Centerstage is the hostel's lobby bar which has become a live entertainment and special events venue instead of a conventional hotel lobby. The stage is located in the middle of the room, in the middle of the bar in fact, which allows for guests to witness the entertainment in 360 degrees, and hosts regular bands and one-off performances on a nightly basis. As with any Hard Rock venue, the walls are plastered with rock memorabilia from famous musicians throughout history. Despite being in the Hard Rock hotel, musical acts vary from Rock and metal to R&B and even hip hop, appealing to a large number of people with different music tastes. Every Monday, the venue hosts a free event called “Rhythm and Booze” which features a live fashion show accompanied by DJ's spinning the decks. Live performances start at around 8.30 every evening and continue long into the night, and the bar and music performances are open to the public as well as hotel guests.
 
Omnia Dayclub Bali. An all-day party destination perched atop a cliff, 100 metres above the Indian Ocean in stunning Uluwatu, Bali. This place is amazing expensive but amazing! They have tons of top DJ lines every week and the crowd is good looking glamorous and ready to party. If you're scared of having fun and getting wet in a pool with bikini clad girls, don't come. If you have cash to burn and love to party like a VIP then head to Omnia. It's a bit far away from the main Seminyak scene but is up there with the best venues in Bali and well worth the trip.

Ten 2 Five

  

Ten 2 five

Since 2004, Ten 2 Five have been an Indonesian alternative acoustic act singing in both Indonesian and English. The unique name originates from a routine band practice that took place every Saturday between 10am and 5pm as the band were starting out. While a few members have dropped out of the band since then, the group is still going strong and releasing new music.

Imel, the vocalist and leader of the group, is well renowned for her clean, mellow and melodic melody lines which take on a soft and relaxing bluesy tone. The rest of the members contribute to a very soft and relaxing ambient sound with minimal percussion, a prominent focus on soft jazz guitar with gentle blues colouring and suspended notes, and of course everything highlighting Imel's perfect vocals.
Their first album, “I Will Fly” was released in 2004 on Explosive Records, and, after only a few months, received a Golden Globe Award later that year after successfully selling more than 75,000 tapes and 17,000 CDs. At the end of the year, they were also awarded the AMI Award for the Best New Artist and for the Best Song in a Foreign Language. In 2005, they went on to write the soundtrack for Me vs. High Heels and performed as a cameo in the film. They also snagged up the AMI aware for the Best Song in a Foreign Language at the end of that year for their song “You”, making it the second consecutive year that they held that status.
Since then, the group have released a number of albums and have undergone many different lineup changes, the most recent being the resignation of Teguh, the keyboard player, who decided to pursue other projects. One particular highlight of their career was the album “I Love Indonesia”, released in 2010, which features eight regional songs and one spiritual islamic song. This saw the band move away from their usual work as they celebrated their culture and roots, moving away from English and into Indonesian. The album picked up two AMI awards for Best Locally Produced Song and for Best Band with Jazz Vocals.
In 2012, the band released the album “Journey” which is a collection of their best work between 2004 and 2012, including two never before heard songs. This album gives an excellent cross section of all their work and features music in both Indonesian and English. This incorporates a more upbeat style with a full band and combines traditional influences with lively funk and dance music.
While Ten 2 Five keep on releasing fantastic music, it is very hard to ignore a few standout songs from their back catalogue. “You”, which picked up an AMI award for Best Song in a Foreign Language and has over 4.5million listens on Spotify, is a very soft, melancholic acoustic piece which features just vocals and two acoustic guitars, percussively lightly tapping the strings between chords to create a soft pulse under Imel's hauntingly beautiful melody lines, dripping with emotion. “I Will Fly”, the title track for their first album which also picked up an AMI award and has over 2.5million listens on Spotify, is a full band effort with some relaxed, clean funk style guitar, gentle drum beats and layered vocals. This was remade as a much more raw and stripped back song for the “Journey” album, reminiscent of the style of “You”. “Aku Ada Rahasia”, which translates as “I have a secret”, is not so much a popular song, but inspired Indonesian novelist Yennie Hardiwidjaja to write a book.
With all of the lineup changes, it is hard to know where the group intend to go next, but whatever direction they take, we can expect some beautiful, show stopping, soulful melodies from Imel and some relaxing and stripped back jazzy blues music from one of Indonesia's most award winning groups. Now on GP records, Indonesian Records Label with more than 10,000 songs | Rinni Wulandari | Five Minutes | Seventeen | Melinda | Mulan | Dewa 19 and many more.

 

The Ladies of Indonesian Music

  

agnezmo

There are some very talented and inspiring women in the Indonesian music scene, both individual solo artists and groups, who are creating original and beautiful work while encouraging young women to take the spotlight in their wake. Here are just some examples of the hundreds women paving the road for others to follow in the Indonesian spotlight.

Dara Puspita - Probably Indonesia's first commercially successful all female pop-rock band Dara Puspita were active in the 1960's and 70's and still influence a lot of young and aspiring artists today. The band saw a lot of pressure as, at the time, the Sukarno regime saw rock music as an unwanted western influence, and after the imprisonment of another rock band called Koes Bersaudara, the band played in safer venues abroad in places like Bangkok to avoid a similar fate. They have taken their garage-rock music on tours all over the world, embarking on a European tour in 1968. Since the disbandment of the group, Titek Hamzah continued in the music industry, starting a solo career to some success.
Agnes Monica Muljoto - More commonly known as Agnez Mo (in photo), she is currently the richest celebrity of Indonesia with an estimated net worth of over $30 million USD and she deserves it, we love her! Agnes is a singer-songwriter as well as an actress, who started her music career early as a child singer at the age of six. Aside from succeeding as both a child and adult musician, she has worked as a music producer and a judge on the talent show Indonesian Idol, and has also worked with huge international names such as Timbaland and T.I. She is the most awarded Indonesian singer with 17 Anugerah Musik Indonesia awards, 8 Panasonic awards, 5 Nickolodeon Indonesia Kids' Choice awards and 4 MTV Indonesia awards to name just a few as of 2017.
Anggun Cipta Sasmi - Also starting her musical career as a child performer, Anggun started her music career in Indonesia before moving in 1994 to Europe to try to make an impression in more intentional markets in 1994, although, only after releasing three critically acclaimed albums back home. Her first international album, “Snow on the Sahara” created by French producer Erick Benzi became the best selling album by and Asian artist outside of Asia in 1997, reaching number one in several countries and charting on the Billboard charts in the USA. She has released five English language albums, six French language albums and a soundtrack for the Danish film “Open Hearts” since her international breakthrough. She has also worked as a judge for the talent shows X Factor Indonesia, Indonesia's Got Talent and Asia's Got Talent and is the highest paid judge in Indonesian television history. She has been certified as gold and platinum in several European countries and has even bee immortalised in wax by Madame Tussauds.
Mulan Jameela - Also known as ulan Kwok, this Indonesian solo singer has made a strong impression in Indonesia. She started as a cafe singer and subsequently joined several bands, most notably forming a duo with Maia Ahmad which they called Ratu. The first single from their debut album “Teman Tapi Mesra” was a smash hit and quickly elevated Mulan's name to a household status. The album peaked number one in Indonesia for several consecutive weeks and sold over 500 thousand copes. In 2008, she released her first solo album titled “Mulan Jameela”, the lead single of which titled “Makhluk Tuhan Paling Sexy” rose to number one in competition with her ex-parner Maia. Her second single also gained number one status has the album was certified as platinum just a few weeks after release.
Gita Gutawa - Gita is a soprano singer, actress and songwriter. Daughter of the famed Erwin Gutawa, she was discovered in 2004 while practicing her vocals, and was immediately booked to sing a duet with ADA band. The album “Heaven of Love” was released in 2005 and featured the duet, selling more than 800 thousand copies, which led to her being approached by Sony Music Indonesia to record a solo album. She quit her music career in 2011 to pursue a degree in economics in England, although not without leaving a lasting impression on the music of Indonesia.

 

dMasiv: Massive on the Indo music scene

  

Jakarta's d'Masiv are rightly regarded as being at the forefront of the Indonesian rock scene, along with bands such as Nidji and Noah. Formed in 2003, D'massiv consist of vocalist Rian Ekky Pradipta, guitarists Nurul Damar Ramadan and Aditya Marsall, drummer Wahyu Piadji and bassist Rayyi Kurniawan Iskandar Dinata. Their unassuming name comes from the English translation (which is almost identical) – massive. They are obviously setting their sights high.Nidji indo music
d'Masiv are another Indonesian band who were given a step up the ladder thanks to that country's love of talent-spotting shows on national television. They won a contest in 2007 – A Music Live Wanted, leading to the release of their first album, 'Perubahan'. This album included the track 'Cinta Ini Membunuhku'.
Testament to this song's enduring popularity can be witness by navigating to the video hosted in YouTube. Here you will see that when you click on the action you are joining a line of viewers that is already standing at 1.38 million. Not bad for a young band that first got thrust into the public eye on a talent show!
The song is fairly anthemic, starting with a rousing chimed guitar intro that is not a million miles away from an early song called 'Yellow' by English global rock superstars Coldplay. As the plaintive vocal line comes in, two guitar tracks meander over one another in the background, eschewing power chords until the incredibly catchy chorus. As this comes in, the strident vocal rises and dips with passion.
A lot of bands attempt to do this contrast between a soft verse building into an anthemic chorus, but few pull it off with such aplomb. At 2:36 the music rises to a powerful guitar solo and a harmonising string accompaniment, while the rhythm guitar keeps the rest of the track guiding along. As the song heads towards its finale, the strings come in again, along with some subtle changes in the key.
For such a young band, d'Masiv are past masters at channelling heartfelt rock music with more laid-back balladry. This makes them come across as sincere commentators and musicians, with something that will connect with their audiences, as opposed to a lot of rock bands who are only interested in trying to impress their listeners with ear-shredding chords!
Another terrific example of their work can be seen online in their track 'Cinta Sampai Disini'. Here the narrative appears to be telling the story of a fragmenting relationship. Against a backdrop of an anguished female, and objects falling in slow motion, the band perform the song with gusto – leaping into the air and allowing the power chords to fairly rattle the speaker stacks. Predictably enough the music eventually subsides into basic notes on the guitar – but in creating a dramatic atmosphere that is just as poignant as ending the proceedings with a screeching guitar solo or a sudden stop.

Indonesian Jazz Festival

  
When considering the name of the country featuring the globe's largest jazz festival, many people would most likely suggest America? Or somewhere in Western Europe? But the answer is somewhat more surprising. Believe it or not, the world's largest annual jazz festival actually takes place in Indonesia. And it's getting bigger every year.Indonesian Jazz Festival
The Bali Live International Jazz Festival has become the largest of its kind anywhere on the planet. This year marked the tenth anniversary since its inception, with the Java Jazz Festival expanding into the Bali Live International event, taking place between the 5th and 8th March 2014.
The festival is a truly cosmopolitan and international affair, featuring top jazz artists from many different countries. Indonesia's home-grown talent also has pride-of-place.
This year the festival got off to a toe-tapping start when several of the main acts performed in a series of 'pre events', designed to showcase some examples of the performers. Various venues on Java were utilised for these impromptu gigs, including the Hard Rock Café in Kuta, the Jazz Café and Uma Cucina in Ubud, the Mozaic Beach Club in Kerobokan, the Le Meridien Hotel in Jimbaran, and many others.
Saturday 8th March saw the main festival event, with an open-air concert running from two in the afternoon until eleven at night. This took place at Taman Bhagawan, the perfect location for hours of full-blooded jazz performers, set against the beautiful backdrop of the blue ocean beyond. The atmosphere of gently lapping waves created a visual feast as successive trombonists, trumpeters, double bassists and several other gifted performers ran through their paces.
Few jazz venues anywhere can compete with a 100-metre stretch of white sands, running by the idyllic village of Tanjung Benoa. Another plus for this location is the fact that the area where the musicians perform is so handy for amenities. This is particularly the case if you are stopping over at the Nusa Dua resorts – 20 minutes from the airport, and a mere 30-minutes from Kuta, Denpasar or Seminyak. For visitors coming into this part of the world, the fantastic array of jazz exponents on offer is simply one part of the overall experience. Fans who have made the trip on previous occasions enthusiastically describe the warm welcome they receive on the island, as well as the beautiful sights and sounds to behold in the Balinese setting.
As for the musicians who formed the main part of the festival entertainment this year, the line-up read like a who's who of the Far Eastern jazz world – the Earth, Wind and Fire Experience featuring Al Mckay, Kevin Briggs and Sandy Winarta, Nita Aartsen, Israel Varela and Yeppy Romero, the Rio Sidik Quarter, Nancy Ponto and the Soul Brothers, Massive Soul featuring Dee Rice, and many more.
The annual festival is also hugely popular with local audiences because it provides home-grown talent with an enviable opportunity to demonstrate their talents to a far wider audience than they are normally used to. The finest jazz musicians in Bali and Indonesia can hone their craft here, prior to performers from many different parts of the globe demonstrating why they have become so successful.

J Rocks – Rocking the Indo music scene

  
Since forming in Indonesia over a decade ago, J-Rocks have been wowing an army of devoted fans with their energetic brand of Japanese-influenced rock n roll. Lead vocalist Taufik Rachman, together with guitarist Sony Ismail Robbayani, bassist Swara Wima Yoga and drummer Anton Rudi Kelces, began their meteoric rise with an appearance at a music contest. Jakarta was playing host to the 'Nescafe Get Started' competition, aimed at uncovering new talent. Sponsored by the record label, Aquarius Musikindo, J-Rocks succeeded in coming top, winning the opportunity of a lifetime for any ambitious young band – the chance to take part in a compilation album.J Rocks fans
Topeng Sahabat was the name of the band's debut album, released in 2005. As things started coming together for J-Rocks, they also contributed two songs for the Dealova soundtrack album – 'Into the Silent' and 'Serba Salah'.
With the release of their follow-up album, Spirit, two years later, the band really stared to attract a powerful fan base (known in the Indonesian media as J-Rockstars). This covered a variety of bases, including classical music and rock n roll, guaranteeing that it would have widespread appeal in Indonesia and beyond. A single that came from this album, 'Kau Curi Lagi' was notable for featuring the talented Japanese guitarist Prisa Rianzi as a guest musician. Sticking with that connection, around this time the band also made a video for their single 'Juwita Hati', filmed in Japan, and directed by Hedy Suryawan. With Japanese locations forming an eyecatching backdrop, the video was to considerably widen the young Indonesian band's audience – in Japan the young fans have really lapped up J-Rocks.
J-Rocks have one huge claim to fame. They are the first ever band from this Far Eastern nation to have recorded in the Abbey Road studios, most famously used by The Beatles for their album of that name, recorded in 1969. J-Rocks used the session in the London studio to record five songs, which made their way onto their Road to Abbey EP, released in 2009 – exactly forty years on from those Beatles recordings. The J-Rocks EP contains two versions of a song called 'Fallin in Love', one recorded with Indonesian vocals, the other with vocals translated into English. In addition, there ara three other songs – 'Road to Abbety', 'Hanya Aku' and 'Meraih Mimpi'. The EP is also notable for its picture sleeve, which features the young Indonesians aping the world-famous zebra crossing shot that was originally posed by The Beatles back in 1969.
While this may have been a cunning publicity stunt, J-Rocks are in no need of self-promotion – they have a huge number of followers in any case. Not only does their eclectic musical performances ensure maximum coverage, their individual styles are always guaranteed to put them at the centre of attention. J-Rocks are famous for their towering hairstyles and dramatic stage gear. But neither are they 'teenybopper' rock exponents. At the 2008 festival A Mild Live Soundrenaline, they were voted 'Best band to free their voice', pipping established rock bands such as Gigi and Nidji. (It was winning this accolade that led them to being booked into the Abbey Road studio).

Power Slaves – Rich Rock n Roll

  
Their website might state '100% rock n roll', and they might take their name from an album by English heavy metal giants Iron Maiden, but there is far more to this Indonesian band than just bombastic loud guitars. Indonesian music fans are known for their appreciation of energetic music, but they also like subtlety.Power Slaves
A classic example of what Power Slaves are capable of can be seen by tapping into YouTube, where there are many examples of their excellent songs. Impian has attracted almost a quarter of a million hits.
It commences with a drum intro, leading to a soft but insistent section of acoustic guitar, the output layered through effects pedals to give a soothing melodic introduction. As the verse unfolds, the video complements the soft rock background, introducing an attractive female who appears to be re-arranging a collection of Disney miniatures (or could a quirky game of chess be in progress?) The viewer's attention is captured by close-ups of this stunning model, filmed in soft focus and highlights. Shortly afterwards two females brandish fireworks. After a cut back to the 'toy chess', the chorus really kicks in, with keyboards and power chords colliding while the vocalist reaches his hands out imploringly towards the camera.
There is nothing original in this soft hard approach – it was pioneered by US proto-grunge rockers Pixies in the late 80s, and brought to the fore by Nirvana. Nevertheless the technique is just as effective now as it has ever been. Just as the verse lulls the listener into a false sense of security, along come the crunching guitar to rouse you from your state of relaxation! While the verse is all wistful shots of the singer and the model, playing chess, then holding hands seductively as they linger over their next tactical move, the chorus is more conventionally rock n roll, showing the Power Slaves on stage, plugged into their amplifier stacks.
By the second chorus the camera is panning over the model lying back, her beauty illuminated by flickering candles. The film cuts to a shot of the girl apparently involved in an argument while hunched over a pool table.
The song approaches a climax at 3:25, when a close-up of the pool balls breaking cuts to a guitar (and the sub-titles state 'Wow'!) The solo is layered with effects, so that a punchy rock n roll lead is tempered with melody. The guitars continue feeding over the vocals, propelling the song towards its finale. At 4:38 a minor chord change drops in, and the piece slowly unravels towards a majestic fade-out.
All in all, Impian is a triumphant example of how a rock band can alter tone, pace and volume, reaching a whole new audience in the process. This is a classic song that would work well in any setting where you were hoping to create am atmosphere – such as a romantic evening in, featuring candles and a sumptuous meal. But the song would work equally well in a live setting, with those powerful guitar lines erupting from speaker stacks.
  
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