iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Lady Gaga v Heavy Metal: The Confusing World of Pop in Indonesia

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Last on

Sat 20 Apr 2013 15:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 16 April 2013

Lady Gaga was banned but Death Metal is cool - from the streets and clubs of Jakarta, we hear the contradictions that make up the burgeoning Indonesian music scene.

As many young Indonesians have more cash in their pockets, music promoters are seeing the country as a new opportunity for high profile pop tours. Artists such as Beyoncé and Rihanna have been booked to play in Jakarta, albeit modestly dressed.

But there have been frictions. The world took notice when Lady Gaga's recent show in Jakarta was cancelled - local authorities sat on the fence as conservative Islamic groups called her the "devil's messenger." It seemed that despite Jakarta's reputation as the "city of sin" (an unlikely reputation for the capital city of the most populous muslim country in the world) things were changing.

Then American death metal band Cannibal Corpse, banned from performing in some countries because of their graphic songs about mutilation and necrophilia, was approved to play in Jakarta. This is one of the contradictions in Indonesian pop - discovering that heavy metal is on the rise amongst young radical muslims.

This documentary looks at these opposing forces and how the music scene is taking shape in this influential city.

Maria Bakkalapulo talks to the group Tengkorak, a self-styled Islamic metal band sympathetic to FPI, the Islamic Defenders Front, a hard-line Islamic group in Indonesia notorious for vandalising nightclubs and even breaking up concert gigs. Tengkorak & FPI were integral in pushing Lady Gaga's show cancellation in Jakarta.

Presenter: Maria Bakkalapulo - who has reporting on music and culture in Indonesia for the past 8 years.

Produced In London by Sara Jane Hall from sound recordings by Niall Macaulay in Jakarta.

  • `Little Monsters', as fans are known, held a 'Lady Gaga Fashion Competition' to show support - Photo by Cindy Clarissa

    `Little Monsters', as fans are known, held a 'Lady Gaga Fashion Competition' to show support  -  Photo by Cindy Clarissa
    In June 2012, Lady Gaga's Jakarta concert was cancelled due to religious protesters
  • Tengkorak

    An Indonesian Islamic Grindcore Metal band. Photographer Niall Macaulay

  • Inul Daratista

    Inul Daratista
    The 'Queen' of Dangdut music, at her home in Jakarta - photo by Niall Macaulay

  • Tokyo's F.I.D. performing at Jakarta's Grindcore festival 'Obscene Extreme'

    Tokyo's F.I.D. performing at Jakarta's Grindcore festival 'Obscene Extreme'
    Photographer Niall Macaulay


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss