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.