Fado and Keroncong


There was a beautiful aha-moment when I first realized some vague trace of my country in Lisbon, Portugal. Well, actually it’s the other way around. It’s how the Portuguese left their trace in my country hundreds of years ago.

It’s when I noticed some words similarity such us igreja (gereja in Indonesian), which means church. Also when I first heard its most famous music: Fado.

"Fado car" in the heart of Lisbon, playing Fado music all day long.

“Fado car” in the heart of Lisbon, playing Fado music all day long.

It was an instant “crush”. I’m loving its sound, its soul, and later I figured out that in fact, Fado influenced the original Indonesian music genre: Keroncong, especially in its melancholic spirit through traditional acoustic instruments. Keroncong itself began in Indonesia in 16th century when the Portuguese came in the country. It evolved to the modern Keroncong when ukulele (from Hawaii) was invented and became its main instrument.

What also excites me is knowing the most famous Fado singer Amália Rodrigues, who shares my first name🙂.

Krontjong Toegoe is the well-known keroncong community in Jakarta which lasts for generations. I found their practice session performing the classic keroncong song “Juwita Malam” on youtube. For your entertainment🙂.

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