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15 Jul 2023

Cultural Dialogue NAWA 2023: Strategizing to Keep Traditional Music Relevant in the Ears of the Younger Generation

Jakarta, 15 July 2023 - Preserving traditional music is not an easy task. At least that’s what the panelists felt during a cultural dialogue titled “Traditional Music: Rejecting Silence Amidst Modernization,” held at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (GKJ), on Friday (14/7). The cultural dialogue, which was part of the Nusantara Academic Writing Awards (NAWA) 2023 series, invited several speakers including senior musician Viky Sianipar, Director of the Nusantara Institute Sumanto Al Qurtuby, and the Coordinator for Music Appreciation and Literacy at the Directorate of Film, Music, and Media, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, Edi Irawan.

The multitude of ethnic groups inhabiting the Indonesian archipelago has given rise to diverse cultural arts from generation to generation, including regional songs and their accompanying musical instruments. Along the way, these cultural products have become part of the nation's identity. However, challenges arise when music from other countries inundates the ears of the people in the homeland.

In response to this, senior musician Viky Sianipar believes that effectively reviving traditional music has become a challenge that needs to be addressed. He stated, “In the realm of traditional music, what I perceive as lacking is the manner in which this music is presented. Insufficient direction and guidance result in instrumentalists frequently attempting to package traditional music with only a minimal grasp of its nuances and context.”

Professor Sumanto Al Qurtuby, an anthropology expert from King Fahd Petroleum University, added, “It all depends on the creativity of traditional artists and musicians in terms of how they present and adapt to the changing times. Traditional music that cannot adapt will be left behind, but traditional music that can adapt will survive and thrive.”

On the other hand, the government is also taking steps to ensure that traditional music continues to have a place in the ears of the people. Edi Irawan stated that efforts are needed to protect and develop the ecosystem of traditional music by facilitating and providing opportunities for young Indonesian musicians to develop their works. He said, “Who will appreciate traditional music if there are no listeners? Thus, our task extends beyond merely refining the 'packaging' of traditional music, but also build the interest of the Indonesian people in traditional music. Music is a universal language, and I believe that with all its uniqueness, Indonesian traditional music can achieve international recognition.”

The Nusantara Academic Writing Awards is a collaboration between the Nusantara Institute and Bakti BCA. It aims to recognize outstanding academic theses or doctoral dissertations that address issues related to traditions, culture, religion, and local kingdoms in Indonesia. This event is in its fifth year since its inaugural event in 2019.

The recipients of the NAWA 2023 awards are Pande Putu Yogi Arista Pratama (Ph.D., Semarang State University); Frengki Nur Fariya Pratama (Master's, Diponegoro University); Ahmad Saefudin (Ph.D., Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University); Shienny Megawati Sutanto (Ph.D., Indonesian Institute of the Arts - Denpasar); Ida Bagus Gede Surya Peradantha (Ph.D., Indonesian Institute of the Arts - Surakarta); Uun Triya Tribuce (Master's, Brawijaya University); Ayu Kristina (Master's, Gadjah Mada University).

One of the pillars of the Bakti BCA program is Bakti Budaya, which represents BCA's commitment to preserving the diverse arts, culture, and traditions of the archipelago. This program involves collaborations with various artistic and creative industry stakeholders, embracing the younger generation to actively participate in preserving the nation's culture. Bakti Budaya is organized holistically across the country.

BCA Director, Antonius Widodo, explains that BCA consistently positions itself as a national bank that supports the government and the arts and culture community in preserving and advancing culture in various forms, including traditional music. “BCA's commitment to advancing arts, culture, and other traditional heritage has been carried out since 2019. This program includes competitions, art publication awards, and more. BCA actively involves the younger generation in order to actively participate in preserving and developing arts and culture in line with contemporary language.”

BCA EVP Corporate Communication & Social Responsibility Hera F. Haryn expresses her delight that BCA continues to consistently support cultural preservation activities in Indonesia. "BCA's support for cultural preservation is the result of initiatives and dedication from various parties such as the government, academics, experts, and the Nusantara Institute, which make events like this possible. Just like other sectors, it is only fitting that researchers and academics in the cultural sector receive recognition, as done by NAWA," Hera expressed.

Prior to participating in the NAWA series, BCA has a long history of supporting the preservation and advancement of Indonesian culture. Among them is the "Wayang for Student" program, which has provided training and mentoring to the younger generation in preserving the art of wayang since 2012. Due to the consistency of this cultural program, BCA has broken the MURI record as the "Company with the Most Activities in Preserving Wayang Culture."

Not only that, but for the first time, BCA organized a wayang drama performance titled "Hanoman: Ada Apa dengan Shinta?" and a wayang comic strip exhibition in March 2023. This performance involved more than 100 talented youths and students, attracting over 1,000 visitors including students, university students, and representatives from relevant ministries/institutions related to culture.

BCA is also actively involved in the preservation of traditional textiles from South Central Timor, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). In collaboration with the Indonesian Natural Dye Association (Perkumpulan Warna Alam Indonesia), BCA has been supporting the development of 28 female weavers in the region to preserve the traditional woven fabrics of South Central Timor and transform them into eco-fashion products. This initiative provides economic benefits to the local community while contributing to environmental conservation.

BCA’s latest contribution to preserving Indonesia's cultural heritage is its support for the "Satu dalam Cita" series. This cultural event includes various activities such as the Sudamala: Dari Epilog Calon Arang performance, Royal Heritage Dinner, Sudamala Tour, Pasar Kangen in Solo, and Art Workshops at Pura Mangkunegaran in Solo.

Picture Information:

Awards for Academics - The Nusantara Academic Writing Awards (NAWA) 2023 is an academic recognition for the best master's theses or doctoral dissertations addressing issues related to diversity, traditions, and culture. In the photo, BCA's Director, Antonius Widodo (center), EVP Corporate Communication & Social Responsibility BCA, Hera F. Haryn (fifth from the left), Director of Nusantara Institute, Prof. Sumanto Al Qurtuby (fourth from the left), Coordinator for Music Appreciation and Literacy at the Directorate of Film, Music, and Media, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, Edi Irawan, along with Inge Setiawati, Nusantara Institute's Advisory Board Member (fourth from the right), pose with the winners of NAWA 2023.

Picture Information:

Rejecting Silence amidst the Roar of Modernization - PT Bank Central Asia Tbk (BCA), in collaboration with Nusantara Institute and supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, declares its commitment to continue supporting various cultural preservation activities for their development and advancement. Cultural Dialogues and the Nusantara Academic Writing Award 2023 are among the efforts to seek strategies to ensure that traditional music remains at home in its own land.


About PT Bank Central Asia Tbk (as of 31 March 2023)

BCA is one of the leading banks in Indonesia, focusing on transactional banking and providing credit facilities and financial solutions for corporate, commercial, SME, and consumer segments. As of the end of March 2023, BCA served over 36 million customer accounts and processed around 77 million transactions daily. This is supported by 1,247 branch offices, 18,348 ATMs, as well as internet and mobile banking services, and a 24-hour contact center called Halo BCA. BCA's presence is strengthened by several subsidiaries specializing in vehicle financing, BCA Syariah, securities, general and life insurance, digital banking, money transfer, and venture capital. BCA is committed to building long-term relationships with customers, prioritizing mutual interests, and creating a positive impact on society at large. With around 25,000 employees, BCA's vision is to be the preferred and trusted bank for the community, playing a vital role as a pillar of Indonesia's economy.



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