The music of Indonesia demonstrates its cultural diversity, the local musical creativity, as well as subsequent foreign musical influences that shaped contemporary music scenes of Indonesia. Nearly thousands of Indonesian islands having its own cultural and artistic history and character.
From Metal Rock to Jazzy sweet songs, Indonesian music scene is very colorful. To discover the right balance that might spike your interest, you have to dig to find the indie scene that is among the most vibrant and diverse in the whole region. With a large and growing youth population, Indonesia’s indie music scene is also as dynamic as they come.
Here are our recommendations for four of Indonesia’s coolest up-and-coming indie musicians.
Andre Harihandoyo and Sonic People
Andre Harihandoyo and Sonic People (AHSP), a bluesy pop rock band, was established in 2006. The band members are Andre Harihandoyo himself as lead vocalist and guitarist, Andreas Arianto (keyboard, accordion, saxophone, etc.), Tommy Setiawan (bass) and Tobias Ringga (drums).
AHSP released its first full album, Good for the Soul, in 2009 with notable songs like “The Breakup”, “The Flood Song”, “Good” and “Justify”. Following their first record, they released Stronger Than Fiction ( 2013 ) with singles such as “Love Again”, “Fallin'” and “Like A Song” (featuring Baim as lead guitarist).
Recently, AHSP just released Timelapse and one of its songs, “Impostor Heart”, went on the official soundtrack of the movie Headshot.
Adhitia Sofyan is a singer-songwriter who started to write acoustic tunes in late 2007. He sent some of his songs to an independent radio station, which made two of them, “Adelaide Sky” and “Memilihmu” (Choosing You), become hits.
Well known as a bedroom musician in the first record, he released a full band format recording in the latest album. Up until now, he has released Quiet Down ( 2009 ), Forget Your Plans ( 2010 ), How to Stop Time ( 2012 ) and Silver Painted Radiance ( 2016 ). He often randomly picks any position along the guitar neck and memorize it if it sounds good, resulting in soulful songs like “Blue Sky Collapse” or “Forget Jakarta”.
Grace Sahertian is best known as a jazz singer from Bandung who routinely performs at the Java Jazz Festival. The Milo, DJ Andezz and Starlite have separately collaborated with her on singles.
Finally, in 2016, Grace Sahertian released her own record called Hela. The unique point is she uses three languages (English, Bahasa Indonesia, and Yamdena/Maluku) in the lyrics. One of the singles, “Better To Love”, was launched to spread happiness to the listeners.
Monita Tahalea is an Indonesian pop and jazz singer who started her career when she was a finalist on the second season of Indonesian Idol. Later on, prominent jazz composer Indra Lesmana was interested in producing her album entitled Dream, Hope & Faith in 2010. In late 2015, she released Dandelion, which was produced by Gerald Situmorang.
Her songs, such as “Hai” (Hi), “Memulai Kembali” (Begin Again) and “I’ll be Fine”, are very beautiful with simple music composed by herself, Gerald (guitar), Joseph Sitompul (piano), Indra Perkasa (bass), Ricad Hutapea (saxophone) and Jessi Mates (drums).
Some of Indonesian musicians and bands were exploring the jazz music. Notable Indonesian jazz musicians include Maliq & D’Essentials. Various other groups fuse contemporary westernised jazz fusion music with the traditional ethnic music traditions of their hometown. In the case of Krakatau and SambaSunda, the bands from West Java, the traditional Sundanese kacapi suling and gamelan orchestra is performed alongside drum set, keyboard and guitars. The Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival is performed annually.