Kelompok Kampungan (“Village People”) emerged as one of the ethnical folk rock fusion group of the mid 70’s through early 80’s.They’re came from Yogyakarta,Central of Java,Indonesia. This eclectical group who makes bewitching music was formed by Bram Makahekum an alumnus of WS Rendra’s Bengkel Theater,an Indonesia famous theatrical group in the mid of 70’s.They present once again the richness and important characteristics of Indonesa ethnical music which develop in the Indonesian archipelago and was enriched by a number of breakthrough from folk,jazz,classical even rock essence.Kelompok Kampungan played their original music stuff with acoustic instruments.At the time ,this was seen as a means of creativity, I called it a new direction for folk meets ethnic music and as a way of attracting the kinds of large audiences enjoyed by rock musicians.
The original members of Kelompok Kampungan were Bram Makahekum (lead vocalist,acoustic guitar,songwriter),Edi Haryono (Java percussions ,Arabian percussions) ,Agus Murtono (violin,Bali percussions,cabassa),Rudra Setiabudi (Flute,oboe,guitars,Java percussion ),Agus Salim (cello,Java Gamelans),Kelik (acoustic guitar,Java Percussions),Joko Surendro (violins,guitar,Java Gamelan) ,Areng Widodo (bass electric,Java Gamelan),Doddy Precil (Back up vocals,percussions),Sawung Jabo (vocalist,acoustic guitar,percussions) ,Innisisri (Bali drums,Drums Kit,percussions),Bujel (flute,gong).Bram Makahekum was also leader of the band and Agus Murtono was a music director.With only Bram Makahekum remaining in place throughout the band’s life pan.
Bram Makahekum ,Sawung Jabo,and Edi Haryono all had experience playing music score for Bengkel Theater,a group of theater led by artist WS Rendra,with Java Gamelan orchestration called Nyai Pilis.Innisisri have experienced with various rock group like The Lheps,Spider,Amudas and many others.Areng Widodo was bass player from a rock band called Golden Wings. And the others came from Akademi Musik Indonesia (Indonesia Music Academy) alumnus.
The embryo of Kelompok Kampungan started out in the mid of 1970s that supported Bengkel Theater play ’s performing.Bram Makahekum was the center of the stage with the blending of singing and poetry reading.His voices was expressive and distinctive .
In 1977 Bram Makahekum with his friends officially formed Kelompok Kampungan as a musical groups.Kelompok Kampungan for the first time played Bram Makahekum song titled “Mencari Tuhan” (In Search Of God) at Taman Ismail Marzuki Jakarta in the same year .The audiences like their their musical concept.Kelompok Kampungan were unsurpassed in their eclecticism,willing to borrow from folk,blues,jazz,classical and Indonesia ethnical.Unexpectedly peoples likes their simple songs with protest lyrics.But the New Under regime under Soeharto administration banned Kelompok Kampungan music in several concerts .
Sadly,they can’t do anything with their music.The government also banned their first recording “Mencari Tuhan” (Akurama Records,1980).Their one and only album featured 9 tracks like “Bung Karno” (with the excerpts of Soekarno’s monumental speech in 1964 ) ,”Ratna”,”Mereka Mencari Tuhan”,”Catatan Perjalanan”,”Hidup Ini Seperti Drama”,”Berkata Indonesia Dari Yogyakarta”,”Wanita”,”Terlepas Dari Frustrasi” dan “Aku Mendengar Suara”.All songs composition was written by Bram Makahekum with the assistance of Sawung Jabo,Edi Haryono and Areng Widodo.
Nowadays,Bram Makahekum (now 60 year old) still involve in music creativity.Sawung Jabo continuing his music passionate in several bands like Sirkus Barock , Kantata Barock and Genggong,Rudra Setiabudi has a career as sound engineer in Aqurius Recording studio,Areng Widodo still writing music especially for television music scoring,Agus Murtono was joined in some famous orchestra in Jakarta and Yogyakarta and Innisisri was passed away in September 30,2009.Before he died,the brilliantly drummer was being in a several idealism band like Kantata Takwa,Swami,Dalbo and Kahanan.
No doubt,Surely ”Mencari Tuhan” was a masterpiece from Kelompok Kampungan.It’s kinda east meets west music with natural touched.It’s the early years of Indonesia world music. Enjoy their music !