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GIGI vocalist Armand Maulana (second from left) addresses a press briefing during the group’s mini album for Ramadhan with band mates guitarist Dewa Budjana (left), Thomas Ramdhan (second from right) and Gusti Hendy (right). JP/Jerry Adiguna
Indonesian alternative rock great GIGI shows it’s in rhythm with charity and commerce.
A pioneer in its genre with 18 years on stage, the band continues to show its commitment to music by releasing a new religious album entitled Aku & Aku (I & I).
So far, GIGI has created at least 15 records plus a further six with a religious flavor. Since 2004, it has been a tradition for the group to release religious albums during Ramadhan.
“The new tracks are ‘Aku & Aku’ and ‘Mutiara Yang Hilang’ [The Lost Pearl],” vocalist Armand Maulana, 41, told a press conference during the recent album launch in Jakarta.
GIGI’s current line up is Armand, guitarist Dewa Budjana, bassist Thomas Ramdhan and drummer Gusti Hendy.
Armand said that the “Aku & Aku” track was for this year’s religious soap opera, Para Pencari Tuhan (The God Seekers) aired on SCTV and dedicated to all orphans nationwide.
“Last year, we launched a single, called ‘Cintailah Mereka’ [Love Them], for the orphans. Now, we have a whole album for them,” said Armand
“By releasing these singles and albums, we just want to raise awareness among all Indonesians that the well-being of these orphans is part of our duty.”
Making music and giving most of the proceeds generated by record sales to the orphans are the best things GIGI can do to help others, said Thomas, 45.
“At most of our gigs, whether in clubs or outside, Armand brings a can to collect charity money. The collected money is given to orphans. We’re not looking for popularity, we just want to help them,” he said.
Refusing to follow current musical trends, GIGI said that releasing albums for charity was also a strategy for surviving tough competition. By participating good causes, GIGI could distribute the album through charity networks. For the latest record, the group worked with orphanage foundation Rumah Yatim (Orphanage House).
“We need balance in life, both for matters in this world as well as in the afterlife. I think we’ve gained spiritually from this record,” said Thomas.
For a start, GIGI, under POS Entertainment management and production, produced 100,000 CDs for Aku & Aku. The CDs will be distributed through 28 counters of Rumah Yatim in 13 provinces as well as through music stores in about 55 malls nationwide.
“Most of the sales from this record go directly to those orphans,” said Armand.
Budjana, 48, said the “Aku & Aku” song was created and recorded within one week.
“The process was instant. GIGI are used to creating pieces in short spaces of time. A longer process doesn’t necessarily bring greater results,” said Budjana.
Armand, the lyricist of “Aku & Aku”, revealed that the song was about how a person can become a control freak, as if he was superior to God.
“The song is a soundtrack of a sinetron [soap opera], so we met its producer and director to talk about theme of the song,” said Armand.
“It’s about the selfish side of someone who tends to control things in his way, while in fact we have God, who is the Regulator. God has produced the most suitable regulation for humans, but humans often deny it.”
GIGI has also been involved in a Ramadhan-related nationwide tour with a local cigarette brand over the past nine years.
Armand says that the group has been successfully preserving its own tolerance thanks to Hindu Budjana’s willingness to support the religious project — which has an Islamic flavor.
“I always love to make people happy,” says Budjana.