I thought that, coupled with the previous post of today, I’d post something languid and tranquil, something somewhat relaxed. So, I brought out another classic Indonesian krontjong piece from the mid-20th century, on the local Irama label. “Irama” actually means “rhythm” in English – thus the title of the piece as well as the name of the record label are explained.
I posted a krontjong tune of the same vintage, and on another independent Indonesian label (Dendang), back in May of 2007. This one is similar – it’s the style of krontjong that I quite enjoy, featuring the walking guitar and fiddle player trading runs in between smooth vocals. Krontjong itself is a relatively new type of urban folk music, developing in Indonesian urban areas a little over 100 years ago, with Batavian, Portuguese, Malay, and even African influence. Krontjong had changed dramatically since it was first recorded ca. 1904, and when this record was released (probably the late 1940s or so). The instrumentation was bare bones at first, featuring trios and the like. I’ve heard 1920s krontjong that sounds influenced by Stamboel theater, with a slightly more operatic sound, showing further influences at work. By the 1940s, krontjong was a rage, with whole orchestras and popular singers getting into the act…yet, to me this music is not easily explained. Indonesian-Hawaiian-guitar-and-fiddle-ballads?
As for the singer and band – I’m afraid these are muddy waters. I am mostly sure that “Moh.” stands for Mohammed, and “Kr.” stands for krontjong, but at the risk of being incorrect, I will let the original label stand as the official record.
Issue Number: IRK. 186-145
Matrix Number: imco 233 (on label); JMC 233-1 (on shellac)