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Band members arrested for singing PKI associated folk-song Genjer-Genjer

Metro TV News - May 9, 2016

Nurul Hidayat, Mojokerto – Five members of a local band called Mesin Sampink in East Java have been arrested by the Mojokerto municipal police for playing the song Genjer-Genjer during a music performance.

Speaking on Monday May 9 Mojokerto city police chief Nyoman Budiarja said that police had closed down the concert on Sunday May 8 because one of the bands played the song Genjer-Genjer which is identified with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

"[According to] initial information they sang the song five times at concerts they've played. This includes a concert at Waduk Tanjungan in Pagerluyung, at their friend's wedding and twice during a reggae musical concert at GOR Seni Majapahit", said Budiarja.

Budiarja added that police have also found a video documentary of Mesin Sampink at a concert in Waduk Tanjungan. In the video, which was uploaded to YouTube on August 1, 2015 the band also sang the song Genjer-Genjer.

According to band members, the song Genjer-Genjer sounded good and was compatible with being re-arranged to a reggae beat. However they claimed that they did not know that the song was identified with the PKI and only know of the song from a friend.

"The song was re-arranged with reggae music and they presented it at concerts on the grounds that there are several bands that sing the song on YouTube", he said.

The Mesin Sampink band members arrested were vocalist AFS (22) from Soko, guitarist JM (28) from Sooko, drummer JP (28) from Prajurit Kulon, guitarist OS (27) from Soko and base player RO (22) from Trowulan along with concert committee organiser BJH (45) from Sooko.

The reggae musical concert at GOR Seni Majapahit in Mojokerto city on Sunday evening was forcibly closed down at 9pm after Mesin Sampink played the song Genjer-Genjer.

"Yes, there was a song played by one of the bands that wasn't in line with their (the police) wishes, the song Genjer-Genjer", one of the committee members Defy told journalists.

Defy said that he regretted that police has acted repressively because the reggae musical concert was just for simple entertainment and to appreciate the creativity of local musicians. (SAN)


The Javanese folk song Genjer-Genjer, which tells the story of the genjer (lettuce) plant that gained popularity during times of extreme poverty due to its abundance amid high food prices, is associated with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) affiliated women's organisation Gerwani or Women's Movement which was banned and then demonised by the Suharto's New Order dictatorship following the 1965 anti-communist purge.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Personel Band Ditangkap karena Nyanyikan Genjer-genjer.]

Source: http://jatim.metrotvnews.com/peristiwa/JKR4RPxb-personel-band-ditangkap-karena-nyanyikan-genjer-genjer.

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