The Dynamics of Keroncong Music in Indonesia, 1940’s — 2000’s

Linda Sunarti, Wiwin Triwinarti


ABSTRACT: “Keroncong” music, as a treasure of Indonesian national music, has been experiencing a long phase since the arrival of the Moorish as Portuguese slaves to Indonesia in the 16th century. In the long period, the “keroncong” music then, as other kinds of traditional music, has to face industry music, especially Western music. The power of financial capital, the superiority of technology, and the sophistication of marketing ground down traditional music. This paper tries to analyze the “keroncong” music in Indonesia that can still be maintained or popularized through various ways and by making a proper media of promotion such as through television and radio so that society are familiar to “keroncong” music. Therefore, “keroncong” artists should make innovations or changes that can attract people’s interest to “keroncong” music. They should create song lyrics that reflec the life of society or take themes that is in accordance to their period. Although there are many new “keroncong” compositions, but the new “keroncong” songs are rarely published in media. The emergence of “campursari” in the 1990s, pioneered by Manthous, brought a power of interest and became a magnet for fans and activists of “keroncong” and traditional music so that they appreciate the music and many groups of “campursari” music which is rooted from “keroncong” grew. The same effort was done by Didi Kempot and Koko Thole who has given new colour to “keroncong” music. They made efforts to spread “keroncong” music to a wide range of society and also develop the music itself.

KEY WORDS: “Keroncong” music, time of revolution, Indonesian society, “campursari” music, and innovations in traditional music.

About the Authors: Linda Sunarti, M.Hum. and Wiwin Triwinarti, M.A. are Lecturers at the Department of History, Faculty of Humanities UI (University of Indonesia), UI Campus Depok, West Java, Indonesia. Corresponding author is

How to cite this article? Sunarti, Linda & Wiwin Triwinarti. (2013). “The Dynamics of Keroncong Music in Indonesia, 1940’s — 2000’s” in TAWARIKH: International Journal for Historical Studies, Vol.5(1) October, pp.91-102. Bandung, Indonesia: ASPENSI [Asosiasi Sarjana Pendidikan Sejarah Indonesia] and UVRI [Universitas Veteran Republik Indonesia], ISSN 2085-0980.

Chronicle of the article: Accepted (August 3, 2013); Revised (September 7, 2013); and Published (October 28, 2013).

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