Jakarta hotels required to provide traditional music

Jakarta hotels required to provide traditional music

Newly installed Jakarta Culture and Tourism Agency head Purba Hutapea will call on all hotels in Jakarta to play traditional music for guests in order to showcase Indonesian culture.

Purba, formerly the head of the Jakarta Population Civil Registration Agency, said he was preparing a circular that would direct hotel managements in Jakarta to dedicate space and time to the playing of traditional music.

He emphasised, however, that the agency was not attempting to limit the amount of foreign music played at hotels.

"We don't aim to ban foreign music per se. We only want to encourage hotel managements to include traditional music in their performances," he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

He said hotels could, for example, provide space for traditional musicians to perform in the hotel lobby to welcome guests.

Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Jakarta chapter chairman Krishnadi said association members were ready to implement the policy, adding that others like it had been introduced before.

"A similar policy was introduced years ago and we are basically fine with it. However, hotel managements should customise it in accordance with their capacities," he said.

Hotels with adequate space could hire traditional musicians to play live music in the lobby, while others with less space could play recordings, Krishnadi said.

The association chairman stressed, however, that such policies would not have a significant impact, as Jakarta's hotels catered predominantly to businesspeople.

"It won't have a significant impact, because most Jakarta hotel guests are businessmen who don't have time for stuff like tourist attractions or entertainment. They usually arrive at the lobby and rush to the room to go to the next meeting; they don't have time to relax. There are, however, tourists who come to Jakarta to enjoy tourist attractions," he said.

Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said that the new policy was an attempt to introduce local traditions to tourists.

"Good hotels can participate [in preserving culture] by introducing traditional music to tourists. We don't want to be chauvinistic by forcing them to play certain traditional music. But I think a lot of tourists will enjoy our traditional songs, like "Bengawan Solo" or "Kompor Meleduk" Ahok said at City Hall.

"Bengawan Solo", named after the Bengawan Solo River in Central Java, is a song composed by the late Gesang Martodihardjo, a well-known composer, while "Kompor Meleduk" (Exploding Stove) is a song made popular by the late Benyamin Sueb, a Betawi artist.

Ahok reiterated that he would continue efforts to preserve local culture initiated by former governor and current President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Jokowi is well-known for his appreciation of culture and the arts, having introduced a number of supporting policies, including one requiring Jakarta civil servants to wear traditional Betawi attire on Fridays. In 2013, Jokowi also initiated a grandiose dance musical, Ariah, named after a legendary Betawi female figure, to mark Jakarta's 486th anniversary.

"We have also called on local buildings to use traditional ornaments so they will be recognised by the public," Ahok said.

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