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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: October 2015




Many musical performances that project across public space are socially inclusive. But as Martin Stokes (1994:9) reminds us, so too can the crashing sound of one group be a deliberate ploy to enforce the boundaries between groups. Such inclusive and exclusive ploys and their effects also featured at Sosrowijayan-based musical groups' rehearsals and public performances. One example of this in the kampung was the long-running kroncong group, which rehearsed most Saturday evenings in the Old Woodpecker restaurant at the north end of Gang One. Friends and relatives often sat in, sometimes taking the lead singer role, all of which helped to elevate the atmosphere from that of a formal rehearsal to a music-oriented social gathering. During my research however, passing pengamen in Sosrowijayan did not join the Old Woodpecker gatherings, even though they shared the repertoire. Furthermore, becak drivers and street guides seldom if ever participated in these sessions. By contrast, a couple of groups I was introduced to shared more in common with becak drivers and street guides respectively, and thereby warrant attention here. These were the Sekar Wuyung and Shower Bands.


I first saw Sekar Wuyung perform outside the Sultan's Palace, and later came to know them in Sosrowijayan. They rehearsed on Thursdays and Sundays from two until five-thirty pm at Pak Wawan's under-patronised guesthouse along an alleyway between Gang Two and the red-light area. There were 15 members, including the singers, most of whom were in their mid-30s or older. Reflecting the influence of context on intersections between taste and genre outlined earlier, the term they applied to their repertoire alternated between campursari and dangdut Jawa. The group's founder and manager owned two hotels in the area, and was attempting to buy and incorporate a set of gamelan instruments. Given that Sosrowijayan no longer had a gamelan set, this was a particularly popular prospect among regionalists. In the meanwhile the instruments, all played by men, included the keyboard and the tabla-style drums typical of a dangdut group (Sedyawati 1998:128; Weintraub 2010), and Udin on mandolin (cuk) added a kroncong sound.

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Musical Worlds of Yogyakarta
  • Online ISBN: 9789814414463
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