Tasa Nugraza Barley
A troupe of entertainers are planning a special salute to veterans next week with a show celebrating Indonesian culture. The show, “Kabaret Keroncong,” is being dedicated to veterans’ organization Legiun Veteran Republik Indonesia, and is an extension of commemorations for National Heroes Day, which was marked on Thursday.
The organizers, actress Maudy Koesnaedi and radio host Iwet Ramadhan, say the show will be held next Thursday. Maudy, who is also producing the event, said she and Iwet thought organizing this kind of stage spectacle would be a fitting honor for veterans of the country’s war for independence, as well as an opportunity to reintroduce a traditional form of music, keroncong, to a new generation.
Iwet, who is the executive producer of the show, said the idea was conceived of last year during an event with some veterans. Iwet said he decided to do something after the veterans told him they wanted to be more involved in National Heroes Day events. “We decided to create an event that could be enjoyed by these veterans,” he said, adding that both his father and Maudy’s were veterans.
Maudy said, “If we wanted to create a show for veterans, we knew we would need to do something that they like. That’s why we chose to do a keroncong show.”
Keroncong is a traditional music that has its roots in Portuguese music. It is usually performed on violins, flutes and small, ukulele-like guitars.
Keroncong, Maudy explained, was very popular during the war for independence because the lyrics of the songs often evoked nationalist sentiments.
But the music has been on a steady decline since the end of the war, she said, and few young people these days bother with it. “We are concerned that keroncong is being forgotten,” she said.
That’s why Maudy and Iwet are encouraging young people to attend Thursday’s show. They promise that the show will appeal to everyone, with contemporary songs being mixed in with tunes from the past.
Furthermore, Iwet said, the 90-minute show will include European classical music and jazz, and will be punctuated by drama and dance performances. Among the celebrities and performers scheduled to appear at the event are actor Lukman Sardi, radio host Ary Kirana, singer Ratna Listy and the EKI Dance Company.
Oleg Sanchabakhtiar, the stage director, said “Kabaret Keroncong” would be an opportunity for grandchildren and grandparents to spend time together.
“Grandchildren can take their grandparents to enjoy some nostalgic moments through keroncong songs,” he said. “While at the same time, the young generation can learn about a traditional music genre that is slowly being lost.”
Maudy has done a number of shows inspired by traditional culture. In May, she produced a musical theater performance, titled “Sangkala 9/10,” which was based on a true story from Jakarta’s history.
But still, she said, it wasn’t easy to find sponsors for this latest project.
“I knew that the show must go on, no matter what,” she said. “If we waited for another year, there would still be no guarantee that we could make it happen.”
All profits from the event will go to Legiun Veteran Republik Indonesia.
H.W. Sriyono, president of the veterans’ organization, said he was touched by the younger generation’s concern for veterans. “We are very pleased with this show,” he said. “It’s very touching for us to be entertained by today’s young generation.”
Thursday, Nov. 17
Gedung Kesenian Jakarta
4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
For reservations: Tel. 021 83331234 or 021 80280000