Homegrown & Well Known: Ian Stevenson

There should’ve been, at minimum, 3 bands to explode from Bali: Superman Is Dead, Navicula and Kaimsasikun. The last one had sophisticated skills, cool-and-controlled performance style, and their songs are even ‘poppier’ sounding than the other two bands (meaning it would be easier to penetrate the Indonesian market). They even have the looks. Ian Stevenson, the frontman, is without doubt one of the greatest young musicians that Bali ever produced. He shares what went wrong with his almost-famous group and a bit about his personal life in the post-Kaimsasikun era.

Homegrown & Well Known: Leo Sinatra

He’s one of those young virtuosos from Bali. Has got himself one of those more-guitar-less-talk attitudes, started his career as a metal head and once, rather reluctantly, this skinny jean wearing guy tried to taking over the mic.

Homegrown & Well Known: I Wayan “Gendo” Suardana

He’s done some horrific time in a filthy Kerobokan prison cell, receives death threats more regularly than an granny has afternoon tea with her friends and yes, this activist turned lawyer admits that he often gets scared.

Grunge Diaspora in California: Navicula US Tour

In the Indonesian music industry there’s a word that has been used frequently—a bit too frequently, maybe—and sadly inappropriately: go-international. Every time Indonesian musicians tour overseas, or perform in any way outside of Indonesia, it will, most of the time, be easily referenced in the media as them “going-international”. But more often than not, in fact, the event is organised by Indonesian expats (students/workers), using Indonesian on stage/to communicate, played in front of Indonesian communities (and when you see bule/non-Indonesians, they are either the husbands/wives of the Indonesians or ex-Indonesian residents), and have usually received full—other than financial—support from Indonesian consulates in the cities they play. In other words: from Indonesia, for Indonesians. Business as usual. Don’t even imagine the phenomenal Asian invasion like Psy via “Gangnam Style”. Nothing really international at all, except being physically outside of Indonesia. Instead of go-international, the correct term that should’ve been go-diaspora.

What happened with Navicula last month was neither go-international nor go-diaspora. But it might be the most international recognition you can imagine for a relatively unknown Indonesian band in America, the music mecca of the world, the biggest music industry globally. After winning two different rock competitions organised by two different, huge international business entities, the Balinese quartet were flown to and played in Quebec, Canada, in September. Then, just a few weeks after that they were again flown to Los Angeles for a 3-day recording session—with some concerts around California following: in Berkeley, San Fransisco, Davis, Ventura, and Bakersfield, to name a few.

Homegrown & Well Known: ANOM DARSANA

When a stranger gives you a difficult 2-in-1 task: “I need a local guy who understands about international-standard sound recording and is also able to organize sophisticated music concerts,” no need to be panic, just say this name: Anom Darsana.

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