Navicula: Indie band fights corruptors through album
Novia D. Rulistia
The Jakarta Post
Around 10 p.m on Thursday night, the crowd at the Rolling Stone café in South Jakarta got wilder as the Bali-based grunge band Navicula took the stage.
Through their “Mafia Hukum” (Law Mafia) they performed during the launch of the Frekuensi Perangkap Tikus (Mousetrap Frequency) CD album; the crowd at the front was moshing to the song while the audience at the back danced and sang along with them.
The song speaks about their protest against an evil conspiracy among the authorities, business people and the “crocodile”, referring to the police, and that the mafia should be punished according to the law as they do nothing but harm the people.
Besides campaigning against corruption, the four-piece band has also been actively involved in many campaigns.
In September last year, they joined Greenpeace’s Mata Harimau Team, participated in the Kepak Sayang Enggang motorbike tour and did 12 days of riding across Borneo to support the effort to save the rainforests.
Other musicians who also performed during the launch were Iksan Skuter, Harlan Boer, Simponi, Jakarta-based rock and roll band Morfem, and Bandung-based hip hop collective Eye Feel Six.
The lead singer for Morfem Jimi Multhazam said it was the first time for the band to write a song completely about corruption.
“We have some songs that touch on corruption, but have never written one that is straight to the point like this,” he said, referring to “Kami Bosan Jadi Negara Dunia Ketiga” (We’re Bored of Being a Third-World Nation), which became the second track on the album.
Jimi said that through the song, they wanted to say that Indonesia is actually a rich country but is ruined by the corruption that has taken root in the country.
“We hope the album can influence the young generation to say no to corruption in any form,” he said.
The album contains 10 songs from 10 independent bands. Besides the performing musicians, Zeke Khaseli, Yogyakarta-based psychedelic band Risky Summerbee & the Honeythief, Adrian of the Efek Rumah Kaca and Sajama Cut also labored to write protest songs against corruption in government for the album.
The album was part of the Indonesia Corruption Watch’s (ICW) massive civil society campaign called “Berani Jujur, Hebat” (Dare to be Honest, Cool).
The album was first released on Dec. 9 last year to coincide with International Anticorruption Day and has been available to download for free from beranijujur.net.
As of March 5, the album has been downloaded 364,261 times.
But as the demand from people to listen to the songs through CD was quite high, the album’s producer Harlan Boer said they finally decided to also release the CD.
“At first, we only put the songs on the beranijujur website so people could either listen to them through streaming them or downloading them. But then people started to ask if we would also release the CD,” he said.
Harlan said the album-making process itself was quite fast. After ICW contacted him, he started to look for musicians with the spirit to fight corruption through their music.
ICW coordinator Danang Widoyoko said that to root out corruption, they could not only rely on the conservative campaign methods usually taken by the ICW.
He said musicians could spread the anticorruption awareness to a younger generation in the ways and words close to them.
“I’m very surprised with the result of the album. We can’t use the words the musicians use to express their anger to corruptors, but they can, and I think that will be more effective for youngsters to get the message we are trying to address,” he said.
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