Wawancara Mengenai Dara Puspita


Eliza Summerlin, mahasiswa Macalester College, Amerika mewawancarai saya untuk keperluan penelitian mininya mengenai Dara Puspita. Kontak dengan Eliza terjadi setelah ia menemukan situs embahgambreng.multiply.com yang saya kreasi untuk menampung semua hal mengenai Dara Puspita.

Berikut adalah Question and Answer antara saya dan Eliza:

How did you become interested in Dara Puspita and Indonesian rock n roll?

I used to hear about the band when I was a child from a magazine or something. Until a few years ago, a friend of mine, a fellow member of Indonesian Music Lover Community (Komunitas Pecinta Musik Indonesia, a liquid organization which I co-founded) sent me photocopies of article about this band, very old article from the 70’s. I was kind of surprised to know that they had been tour to Europe long before the age of internet, Myspace and youtube. I found their records in 2nd hand tape seller and learnt that their music are unique, raw and different

Can you describe your relationship with the members of Dara Puspita?

When they officially broke up in 1972, I had not even been born (I was born in 1975). The relation with the band started when Handiyanto, the ex roadie of the band during their career in Europe contacted me and asked my approval as mailing list moderator to be a member of the mailing list. I was curious with his name “Handiyanto” since I remember an article with similar name I used to read a few months earlier. And we corresponded quite frequently through emails and letters and phones, and we became friends despite large disparity between our ages. He, Handiyanto knew a lot of the band, and It was kind of a coincidence that he also would love to share his testimony about the band. He was kind of impressed of me because although I belong to a newer generation, yet I had a big passion to an old band Dara Puspita which is not really known to most Indonesian music lover, let alone to Indonesian public in general.

What was their goal as a band? (from your perspective)

They wanted to be successful in what they believe. They were just another band in the 60’s that idolized the Beatles, but the specialty was the fact that they’re all female and played their own instruments. They approached Koes Bersaudara (Koes Brothers) a popular all-male band in the 60’s when the band toured their city Surabaya, and asked the leader Tonny if he could help them in searching for success. Tonny and Koes Brothers did help them, and history shows that Dara Puspita were even more and more popular than Koes Bersaudara, proven by a polling held by a famous music/art magazine which ranked them on the top/

What were Dara Puspita’s major influences?

They were certainly influenced by the Beatles. There is a photograph showing them wearing Beatles T-Shirts. They also cut their hair resembled with beatles’ haircut. Yet they were also heavily influenced by The Rolling Stones (hear their song Pesta Pak Lurah which has similarity with “The Last Time). The Ventures, american instrument group also influenced their music.

How did Dara Puspita transform throughout their career?

They started their career as a local band, moved to big city Jakarta (upon suggestion of Tonny) where they received a wider audience, record deal and better instruments.

What motivated the band’s decision to tour Europe?

It was planned for 3 months only (you should clarify this with the band), but later turned to be more than 3 years. Motivation? to be succes on what they believed: Music . You have to keep in mind that before their European tour, they did some gigs in Bangkok, Thailand. It was Koes Bersaudara who were initially offered to do the job, yet the imprisonment of Koes Bersaudara for playing Rock N Roll music had changed the plan. Handiyanto suggested the organizer to bring Dara Puspita as replacement for Koes Bersaudara.

Do you consider Dara Puspita to be part of a 1960s Indonesian counter-culture?

Yes, definitely. Dara Puspita offered different kinds of music from mainstream pop and vocal group music at that time. Even, Rock N Roll was not the music of the regime. the music was stigmatized as part of Neo Imperialism and Neo Colonialism. If one hear the scream in Pesta Pak Lurah, or their wild shouts in Mabuk Laut, then one would understand, that such songs were revolutionary works, trespassing the conventional norms at that time. even Koes Bersaudara’s album , an all male band would be too polite compared with Dara Puspita’s second, third and fourth album.

How did the political climate of the 60s and 70s affect their music?

They refused to play music that overtly worship the regime. They were not political in their lyrics, but the music they played certainly was not in line with political stand of the government which rejected Rock n Roll and Beatles things as part of Neo Imperialism and Neo Colonialism.

What is Dara Puspita’s legacy?

They gained success in Europe, although mostly they played from bar to bar, cafe to cafe. But if we put in the context, what they did was extraordinary. They, Javanese girls who arrived in Europe, played in front of hundreds of crowds, played Rock N Roll with their modern instruments. They got record deal with CBS, backed by an orchestra once became the backing orchestra of the Beatles!

Any final remarks on the band as a revolutionary or rebellious force?

It is important to reveal the history of Dara Puspita to the public. If we’re familiar with a phrase “British Invasion” referring to the Beatles’ and Led Zeppelin’ gigantic tour in the US, then it is time to tell the public about Indonesian Invasion to Europe, done by a group of girls from Java, long before the age of multimedia and internet.

Thank you so much Mannungal. I really appreciate the help you’ve provided me!