GESANG MARTOHARTONO (image) has passed on at 92. One of the more familiar Indonesian composers, the song Bengawan Solo (inspired by the River Solo in Java) was penned by this gentleman in the 1940s.
It has been sung by numerous artistes and these include, Rebecca Pan, SK Poon, Waljinah, Toshi Matsuda, Frances Yip, Anneke Gronloh, Sam Saimun, Sajekti and many others. English versions are by Hong Kong pop star Mona Fong and The Sundowners, a Singapore vocal group from the 60s, sing it in their own easy style. Instrumental ones are too many to mention. One of the better interpretations of the melody comes from The Stylers. And it's hot. (Check side-bar) >>>>>
The song's bigger than the composer. It has brought Gesang lots of royalties and for a song that was composed on a bamboo flute in keroncong style, it has been translated into a dozen languages. In 2009 Gesang said, "Unfortunately (the river) is not as beautiful as before..."
"Air mengalir sampai jauh/Akhirnya ke laut..." May you rest in peace pak!
Original article: Andy Lim.