Monday, January 31, 2011

Lokananta Studio: Indonesia's Abbey Road: 4th Asian Games Souvenir Vinyls Feature Moluccas Songs

(Images: a 10-inch LP, one in a series of 4 distributed during the 4th Asian Games in Djakarta in 1962.)

While I was posting the last few articles about Jimmy Linchong and a song from the Moluccas, I remember my few pieces of 10-inch Long Play records that I have, pressed by the famous Lokananta (literal: heavenly gamelan without drums) label. They are precious and not easily available in the market. And as I rummaged again feverishly through my cupboard I found four. One of them (image 2) contains the song Ajo Mama (j is pronounced yerh in Indonesian).

According to a website (internet address below), the Lokananta studio (image 1,2) in Indonesia is as famous as the one in Abbey Road, Westminster, London. It is the first Indonesian music label, founded in Solo, Central Java. Since its inception, Lokananta has been producing and duplicating records and audio cassette tapes.

When it started in 1958, the records were marketed through the RRI (Republic Rayat Indonesia). As the label reached its state enterprise status, the company activities included: administering, recording, broadcasting, printing and publishing.

Lokananta has thousands of songs from all over Indonesia in its treasure trove and its vast collection encompasses folk, ethnic, world and pop music. So there is keroncong, Javanese gamelan, Balinese, Sundanese, Batak (North Sumatra) and other regional music.

This vast music collection includes many recordings of famous singers from Indonesia. Master tracks in the studio contain songs from legendary composers and singers like Gesang, Waljinah, Titiek Puspa, Bing Slamet, and Sam Saimun. Lokananta has more than 5,000 such track recordings of local songs. Besides songs, state speeches of the late President Sukarno are kept.

Aside: Controversies abound regarding the well-known song Rasasayange. According to the same web-site, this song, together with other Indonesian folk songs, can be found on a single master-track in the Lokananta studios. It is claimed by a certain country as its original folk song but is actually an original from the Moluccas.

Record Detail:
Part One - Tracks on Side One: Dari Barat Sampai Ke Timur, Ba Bendi-bendi, Seringgit Dua Kupang, Ajo Mama, Side Two: Potong Bebek Angsa, Sarinande, Lenggang-Lengang Kangkung, Kaparinjo. Orkes Lokanada, pimpinan B. Y. Supardi.

The original and detailed version can be found in the website below:
Record Cover image: Andy Lim Collection.
(Because of copyright, I have deleted the two photographs showing the recording studios and replaced them with the image of my own personal copy of the album I discussed. You can see the studio images on JGP 4838 Flickr.)


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that story Andy. It is fantastic that the Lokananta studio and its recordings still exist. So much has been lost in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

January 31, 2011 8:09

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hey, Steve. Great to hear from you!

There are many websites that write about the Lokananta studio but there is one on 'Flickr' that shows photographs of the inside of the studio, including one of President Sukarno's speeches.

From the other photos, there are still many vinyls that are available. Wonder why they are not distributing them to sell?

It's an informative site for researchers interested in this aspect of Indonesia's rich cultural history.

Thanks for your comment.
January 31, 2011 11:59 AM