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The Jakarta Post
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Musicians, graft watchdog unite to fight corruption

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, December 6 2012 | 07:26 am

Aware of the power of music to influence people, antigraft watchdog Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) has joined forces with some of the country’s finest independent musicians to produce an album to promote its anticorruption campaign.

During the past three months, under the auspices of the ICW, bands and musicians including Zeke Khaseli, Bali-based grunge outfit Navicula, Jakarta-based rock and roll band Morfem, Bandung-based hip hop collective Eyefeelsix and Yogyakarta-based psyechedelic band Risky Summerbee & the Honeythief, have labored to write protest songs against corruption in government.

The ICW said producing the album was part of a massive civil society campaign called Berani Jujur, Hebat (Dare to be Honest, Cool).

“We can’t rely solely on official institutions to eradicate corruption. So, we have chosen to use music to promote a nationwide movement rid this country of corruption,” ICW public campaigns coordinator Illian Deta Sari said on Wednesday.

The album, which contains 10 songs and is titled Frekuensi Perangkap Tikus (Mousetrap Frequency), is expected to be released on Sunday to coincide with International Anticorruption Day.

The 10 bands and musicians featured on the album will be performing at the event, slated to be held at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta.

Illian said the ICW hoped the album would serve as a wake-up call about the dangers of corruption, which was already commonplace in Indonesia.

“People loathe officials who commit corruption. But, at the same time, they also practice it in their daily lives,” she said.

For example, she said, people bribed police officers to expedite the issuance of their driver’s licenses or they bribed police officers to avoid being given a ticket.

One of the musicians involved in the campaign is Risky Sasono of the Honeythief band, who penned a song called “Subterfuge” for the compilation.

“Corruption is a serious problem now because ordinary people consciously practice it. It has become part of our culture and a reality in our society,” Risky said, talking about the inspiration behind his song.

Risky Summerbee & the Honeythief, which was formed in 2007, was selected by the ICW for the album because the band had consistently written songs addressing social issues.

Risky believes music can do a lot to effect social change.

He said that music could be an effective tool to encourage graft-free and honest living because most people could more easily understand messages through music rather than via talks or seminars.

Music can also be used to prod the government into doing more to combat corruption.

“Eradicating corruption from our society will be difficult because it has become a cultural thing. However, it is still possible,” he said.

Jimi Multhazam, lead singer with Morfem, is also aware of music’s potential to create a graft-free society.

“If songs that promote anticorruption can become popular, behavioral and cultural changes will gradually follow,” Jimi said.

Morfem’s song for the album, entitled “Kami Bosan Jadi Negara Dunia ke-Tiga” (We are Bored of Being a Third World Country), is set to be the album’s first single.

In the song, Morfem laments the fact that Indonesia, despite its wealth in abundant natural resources, will only become a rich nation if corruption is not so prevalent.

“We are tired of corruption being our only big problem now,” Jimi says in one line of the song.

The whole album will be available to download for free from beranijujur.net starting Dec. 9. (riz)


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