I received an invitation to attend the launching of ‘Gerbang Kerajaan Serigala’, an album released by Karinding Attack which is also known as KARAT. The event took place on March 13, 2012; at Dago Tea House, Bandung. One thing that attracted me the most was the fact that this album might be the first Karinding album ever recorded in a form of music album and publicly released in the whole world, and hopefully it won’t be the last. Not only that, this concert also is considered as the first Karinding concert ever held. For this concert, Karat collaborated with other artists and/or musicians such as Trie Utami, Budi Dalton, Sony Akbar Trio, Paperback, Risa Sarasvati, Shofia Khanza, Sofia Azzahra, Siti Herdianti, Karina Putri, Handriansyah Nugraha, Mochammad Dwivo Rahayu, Mochammad Latief Prabowo, Avatar Marvel, Ma Awas, Abah Olot, Mang Engkus, Mang Maman, Mang Utun, Mang Dedi, and Iwan Cabul.

The concert itself is a representation of Karat’s personnel commitment and dedication for karinding music development; it’s an official introduction of the music to those who aren’t familiar with the instrument. It is a reminder for Indonesian, especially the young generation, that a traditional music isn’t lame; that traditional music is adaptable to current trends; that traditional music is precious and it is important for us to prevent it from vanishing. This concert is a result of deep and thorough exploration; a concrete re-discovery proof of the-almost-forgotten traditional music inheritance by great, crazy, nice, funny, weird, scary, determined artists who refuse to give up in reaching their objectives and spread their unlimited verve in doing so.

Karinding is a small shaped bamboo (20 x 1 cm) separated into three main parts; there are different shapes of the instrument depending on age difference, place of origin, and gender of the player. The instrument is also recognized in other countries such as Nepal, China, and even some countries in Europe. Aside from bamboo, there’s also Karinding made from metal or steel; it has been said that the material used to make the instrument could determined its origin.

Karat itself is a group with a dominant influence of metal culture which could be heard from its punk and metal sounds’ nuance on the songs, both musically and lyrically. Hampura Ema (Forgive me, Mother), Wasit Kehed (Unfair Referee), Sia Sia Asa Aing (Snob), Maap Kami Tidak Tertarik Pada Politik Kekuasaan (Sorry, We Are Not Interested in the Politic Reign), Nu Ngora Nu Nyekel Kontrol (The Youth Who Holds The Control), Ririwa Di Mana-Mana (Ghosts Everywhere), Lapar Ma (Mother, I’m Hungry), and other songs inspired by daily routine and/or experiences of Karat’s personnel were on the set list that night.

please do forgive me for the weird translation of the song title, I tried my best, really.

Powered by Atap Promotions and supported by Djarum Super, Karat has proven its three years of existence and influence its caused through hundreds of audience which half of them wearing Iket Sunda and brought karinding to the venue. There is a gate with a big writing of the concert title and couple of backdrops available around the venue, a lounge prepared by the sponsor with small coffee bar and merchandise stall placed just before the main door. To be honest, I thought I am going to see a complete black decorated hall but instead the only thing that covered in black was the stage. Crossing my finger, I did expect for one unforgettable concert.

Gerbang Kerajaan Serigala – literally translated as the Gate of Wolves Kingdom – was opened by Trie Utami’s beautiful chanting. I was intrigued by Trie Utami’s participation in the concert, her voice totally hypnotized the audience into silence; a strong thrill of goosebumps, I must say. Karat then continued to entertain the audience with its performance; Man (Vocal, Karinding) was quite interactive with the audience, although the jokes were real fun to hear, it was confusing on which direction the group would like to take the audience to. It could be a good way to break the ice between KARAT and its audience but I wouldn’t mind if there’s more “punch” from the performance.

One thing that I have to brag to you is how the visualization on the screen surprised me. Ever since I came home and attended various concerts, Gerbang Kerajaan Serigala is the first concert with more than just the average visual. There’s this one image of how zygote turns into human inside the uterus; I am not sure why but the images were so strong I could not get it out of my mind up until now. I think I have to say my sincere appreciation for the men who are responsible for the artistic and the video art for what they have produced.

Before Karat started with its song “Nu Ngora Nu Nyekel Kontrol”, a young girl (who was with 5 others as backing vocal) screamed “Rek kieu-kieu wae hirup teh?” – a strong question asked which although made audiences laughed, it actually throw a bit of slap on the face for me us who live without any willpower to make a change in my our live; to set a goal; to become a better individual; to define objective in living our life and not wasting more time for something useless.

In between sessions, intermezzo through “Wayang Orang” projected on screen consoled us while the personnel changed their outfit and took a short break. Man (Karinding, Vocal) who was accompanied by Edi Brokoli as master of ceremony also humor the audiences with hilarious statements and comments. As I said before, on the contrary of what I have expected before the concert, I was more likely being entertained by the jokes thrown from the stage rather than just the music itself.

As this concert was also a celebration for the third anniversary of Karat, it could have been better if the concert is focusing more on the music itself rather than a parody presented. Nothing wrong with intimate interaction between the group and the audience, it was great and all – but when it comes with a bigger resonance of the music, the concert would be perfect if the closing is as great as the opening act. I understand fully the meaning of collaboration of all artists involved covering the song ‘We are the World’ but somehow I feel like I expect something…more. But again, it’s my (humble) personal opinion.

However, we could see how powerful Karat influences young generation, especially who’s residing in Bandung. It’s now common to see music enthusiast (especially those who come from the underground scene) wearing Iket Sunda. Karat consistently exploring its limit and found (also proved) that there is no such thing as limit in music. Traditional musicians should get rid of their low self-esteem when being faced with modernization. Standing applause for Karat and every one who’s behind it.

This concert may be the first concert of Karinding in the world but without any regeneration and proper revitalization, another beautiful inheritance from our ancestor would be gone without we even realizing it. Why should wait until other countries claim out our culture to care about it? Why don’t we study and show the world how culture rich our country is?

Why don’t we re-introduce Indonesia to the world by giving them wide variety of beautiful traditional music harmonization? Why don’t we let them know that Indonesia is not only about corruption, a singing president, a racial/religious war, and a stampede with our neighbor? Why don’t we let them know that there are other traditional treasure aside from angklung, gamelan, batik and such? Why don’t we let them know that Indonesia has so much more than just that?

or should I say, “Rek kieu-kieu wae hirup teh?”

If you are interested in learning Karinding, you could drop by at Common Room or Gedung Indonesia Menggugat where a class is being held for public. Information related to karinding attack could be read at Jurnal Karat.

The men behind Karinding Attack are; Man (Karinding, Vocal), Ki Amenk (Karinding, Vocal), Wisnu (Karinding, Vocal), Kimung (Celempung, Vocal), Hendra (Celempung, Vocal), Papay (Celempung, Vocal), Okid (Gong tiup, Toleat, Vocal), Jimbot (Toleat, Suling, Serunai, Whistles, Bird voices, Vocal), and Yuki (Suling, Saluang, Serunai, Whistles, Bird voices, Vocal).

Karinding Attack crew are; Viki, Ghera, Mang Tahu, Zemo Cabalero, and Uwok.

Bandung, 17th March 2012

written by Meity Fitriani

photographs used in this post is a private property of the writer

personal video documentation is available here