May 13, 2010


After a few forms of arts and cultures of Indonesia such as Angklung, Reog Ponorogo, Kuda Lumping, and Pendet Dance were claimed to belong to other countries, Indonesia is now facing cultural jolt as Bengawan Solo song has been hijacked and claimed by four Dutch citizens. The four people are claiming to be the creator of Bengawan Solo song and have registered it in their country. This obviously becomes a serious concern of Gesang, the original songwriter of the legendary “keroncong” song in Indonesia.

Related to the stealing of Bengawan Solo by the four Dutch people, the manager of Bengawan Solo song is currently negotiating with a number of Dutch songs publisher. In addition, the Government of Indonesia is also currently studying and investigating the claim of Bengawan Solo song that was originally created by Gesang Martohartono. The Government is ready to defend the work of this Indonesian legendary song. Moreover, Bengawan Solo has been listed in UNESCO as Indonesian made.

Gesang Martohartono, the legendary songwriter of Bengawan Solo, in fact currently is still receiving royalty payments for his song that is still played inside and outside Indonesia. The Indonesian Maestro of Keroncong who was born in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia on October 1, 1917 said that Bengawan Solo was created in 1940 when he was 23 years old. Bengawan Solo has been translated in at least 13 languages and also has its own popularity in Japan because it was once used in a certain movie in the country.

At his age now, Gesang is no longer productive to create more song but thanks to Bengawan Solo song, today he still enjoys royalties that this year reaches more than 34 million rupiahs. However, the claim of the four Dutch people towards Bengawan Solo is certainly not only affecting the amount of royalties that he will receive but also the spirit of his nationalism embedded behind his song.


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