Indonesia, the land of kroncong music

Kroncong music of Indonesia is most probably "foreign" to most Caucasians. In fact kroncong music may even sound esoteric. Let me get to it and help you be familiar with what is kroncong music (pronounced: ker ron chong). By the time you finished reading this article, you would have the pleasure of listening to two classic evergreen kroncong arrangments. I shall not go into details here. At the end of this article, if you are still interested to listen to more kroncong songs, you can click on the link I provided. The link will take you to my blog where I wrote about kroncong music, its maestro and the most famous song Bengawan Solo.

A kroncong musical band

A kroncong group

What is kroncong music

Very briefly, kroncong music is unique to Indonesian music. It is very melodious, soothing and very relaxing to listen. The beat is rhythmic, with interlocking sounds of the various instruments which comprise of two ukuleles, a cello, a guitar, a bass, a flute and a violin.  No words can describe exactly what kroncong is or sounds like. So the only way is to listen to it. Before we do that, let me introduce you to the maestro of kroncong music, Gesang Martohartono.

Gesang and "Bengawan Solo"

The most famous kroncong song is "Bengawan Solo."  Bengawan Solo is the name of a river in Java, Indonesia. It was written in 1940 by Gesang Martohartono, more famously known as Gesang. Gesang passed away on Thursday, 20 May, 2010 at a ripe old age of 92. May he rest in peace.

Gesang was a famous Indonesian composer-singer from Central Java. He did not have any formal musical training. He was a self-taught musician making a living writing songs and singing them at local functions like weddings and anniversaries. He became popular and famous by virtue of his talent to compose beautiful kroncong songs. The most famous song is Bengawan Solo.

My favourite kroncong song : Jembatan Merah

Although the song “Bengawan Solo” has always been the most famous song in kroncong music, it has also become the iconic song of Indonesia. Bengawan Solo may be everbody’s favourite song, but my favourite kroncong piece is "Jembatan Merah" (Red Bridge), also composed by Kesang himself. You can listen to both these songs below.

There is nothing like keroncong music.

Bengawan Solo

Jembatan Merah