Jumat, 23 Oktober 2009

Kuburan Band

A horse with a vocalist on its back, pocong (zombies wrapped in white cloth), faces covered in fake blood and the sound of rock music filled the campus hall.

Such sights are not uncommon when Kuburan performed at universities in Bandung, West Java's student city, early in 2000.

"The campus crowd was incomparable to anything. It always made us think hard about what kind of attraction we should bring next; what jokes we should throw to the audience, and what songs would entertain them," Donny of Kuburan said in an interview recently.

Kuburan (literally meaning graveyard) was set up in 2001, and the former campus band is now one of Indonesia's best-known bands, with two albums to its name.

Their latest album, Booming, be are the kill young pen think gun thank (read as booming, biar dekil yang penting ganteng - meaning Booming, you're filthy but handsome), was released this year, with its first single, "Lupa-lupa tapi ingat" (Forget, but still remember). Their first album was released in 2006, titled Greatest Hits Vol.2.

The six-piece band comprises Priya Ariopanji on vocals, Isdinto "Dino" Madi on drums, Denny Rahmat Ramdani on bass, Raka Auliantara, rhythm guitar, Donny A. Raymuzada, solo guitar, and Muhamad Rizki Maulana (Udhe) on the keyboard.

Since 2001, the band has been through several shake-ups, with the most recent six members confirmed one week before Kuburan recorded their second album.

Besides their attractive stage performances, it is also interesting to see the faces behind the joker makeup, worn consistently while on stage.

"We always put on makeup. It's one of our principles; it's like the separation between our professional and personal lives," Denny said.

"There was this funny moment. During a sound-check for an event, Dino and I took a break. As many don't know our real faces, a worker spotted us and told us to work like other workers preparing for the event, and we did what we were told. Stupid us!" Priya said.

Their bizarre performances not only included make up. Kuburan was also known for often singing cover versions of Indonesian songs - especially old rock songs such as Edane and Inka Christie - during their journey.

"We sing songs that probably only we and the original singers sing," said Dino, followed by a roar of laughter.

However, Donny added, the more attractive and bizarre they were, the more offers to perform they got.

"Performing at campus events for several years taught us some valuable lessons. We're not nervous facing bigger crowds. From no crowd, to passive ones, to brutal audiences complete with brawls - we've experienced them all," he said.

Talking their first gigs brought back memories of college, struggling between school and band. Donny mentioned how they had to promise their parents that they would keep studying while performing their music, and finding ways to finish their final theses quickly, before being expelled.

All members of the band except Priya completed their tertiary studies in Bandung.

"I've taken leave from my studies because I couldn't keep up with them. I miss it, though, and hope I can go back soon," said Priya, who should have been in his second year.

University degrees in hand, and having successfully topped the national charts, Kuburan is now setting their sights on winning awards.

"Once we've done that - which will be soon, we hope - we want to go international, and to other planets," Dino said jokingly.

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