- 東南アジア研究 (ISSN:05638682)
- vol.44, no.2, pp.145-203, 2006-09-30 (Released:2017-10-31)
The magazine Soeara NIROM (Voice of Nederlands Indische Radio Omroep Maatschappji), was issued periodically from 1934 to 1942 to introduce its radio program specifically to Indonesian-reading Nederlandsch-Indie listeners. NIROM itself was established in 1934 as an official network, first broadcasting in Dutch and subsequently in Indonesian. This paper attempts to depict the musical culture of the time by quantifying the frequency of music programs for each broadcasting station in October 1936 and January 1942. This analysis of musical programming depicts a very diverse musical culture in Nederlandsch-Indie and indicates that radio broadcasting, as a new medium, promoted interaction amongthe musical genres.
In October 1936, music constituted more than 70% of radio programming in number of programs and approximately 83% in programming hours. Of the various musical genres broadcast by NIROM, six were dominant: kroncong, Javanese music, Sundanese music, Malay music, Chinese music, and Arabic music. Kroncong was the most popular. It seems that kroncong actively incorporated a musical element of rumba popularized all around the world by the 1930 hit song El Manicero. Consequently, a new style of kroncong rumba was created. A good example is Rumba Tamang Mango, sung by the Eurasian singer Annie Landouw. The most famous kroncong singers were S. Abudullah and Miss Iem, well known in Singapore and British Malaya as well. There was little local music except Gambang Kromong, an ensemble based in and around Batavia (Jakarta) that combined Indonesian and Chinese instruments and styles. Malay music was represented by bangsawan, a modern style combining Indian, Arabic, Chinese, and Western elements into traditional Malay music. Female singers like Miss Maimoon and Miss Tjiah were popular. These singers belonged to bangsawan groups in Singapore and British Malaya, as well as Nederlandsch-Indie. The popularity of Arabic music arose mainly from Arabic films starring actors like Om Kalsum and featuring the gambus, a lute instrument brought by Hadhramaut immigrants residing in Surabaya. A gambus group led by Syech Albar enjoyed high popularity.
In 1942, the popularity of these six musical genres continued, although music programming itself had been reduced to approximately 44% of programs and 69% of programming hours. This was due to an increase in other programming, including news coverage of the eruption of war in Europe. Kroncong declined in frequency and program hours, with few new styles or singers emerging. Several genres of local music, such as Minangkabau, Ambon, Batak, and Acehnese, which had hardly been broadcast in 1936, were on the air. Chinese, Arab, and Malay songs were relatively more popular than they had been. Malay music became more diverse, with domestic groups such as Penghiboer Hati, Sinar Medan, and Patjaran Muda seeming to perform different styles than bangsawan. In the gambus genre, while Syech Albar's popularity was still high, many new gambus groups were established at Batavia, Semarang, Medan, and Garut (in West Java) outside Surabaya.
In addition, the new genre of harmonium music had emerged by 1940 and was frequently aired. The harmonium, a small reed organ set in a box, was an essential instrument of modern Malay music. Judging from the sound source, it seems that harmonium music was basically gambus, or Arabic music, but because it emphasized the sound of the harmonium, it was regarded as Malay music. In fact, the style of gambus and Malay groups in the 1940s indicates that interaction among them took pace flexibly and easily. Some gambus groups, as well as Malay music groups, called themselves harmonium groups. By the early 1950s, these harmonium groups were calling themselves orkes melayu ...