SOEKMA DJAJA : Original Jakarta’s Betawi Musical Drama at Gedung Kesenian

5 Jun 2013 - 6 Jun 2013

In conjunction with the 486th Anniversary of Jakarta, the Ikatan Abang None Jakarta,  sponsored by Diatone Asia and supported by Djarum Cultural Appreciation Institute will present the typical Betawi musical drama Soekma Djaja, to be staged at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta’s Art Center) on 5th and 6th of June 2013.

The Betawi are the indigenous people of Jakarta, who through Jakarta’s rapid modernization, have been somewhat marginalized, but whose culture continues to permeate the capital city. The staging of the Soeka Djaja musical drama is meant to raise Betawi theatre and music to its rightful place as an important and inseparable part of Jakarta’s cosmopolitan art scene.

The drama is produced by Maudy Koesnaedi,  a celebrity television star in her own right, who became popular through the serial drama on Betawi life : Si Doel Anak Betawi.

Soekma Djaja will be accomanied by typical Betawi music called the Gambang Kromong.

Soekma Djaja tells the story of life in today’s Betawi village, with as central figure the character called Maman Djaja who is intent to conserve and develop the typical Betawi music called Gambang Kromong. With modernization, this traditional musical genre is being shunned by the young generation, where even Maman’s  own son refuses to play this so-called outmoded music, despite the fact that for decades his own father earned the family ‘s living from playing gambang kromong.

All actors and players in this drama are winners of the annual Abang-None Jakarta contest, the prestigious annual Miss and Mr Jakarta pageant.

Gambang Kromong is said to have originated in the 17th century homes of wealthy Chinese communities, and is therefore a fusion of Chinese and local music, using both Chinese and local musical instruments. From China are the instruments calledtehyan, kongahyan, and sukong, while local instruments are the gendang, kempul, gong, kecrek and the ningnong.

In the 20th century, more gambang kromong songs were sung in the local Betawi language, including the now popular Kicir-Kicir and Jali-Jali. In its latest development, modern, western instruments are included such as guitars, melodic guitar, organ, bass, saxopone, drum and more.  As gambang kromong fuses the traditional with the modern, and follows latest trends, Gambang Kromong has remained popular with present audiences.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy real traditional Betawi drama and music.

For ticket bookings, call : 08888-002-825, or 085-888-60-50-60.  Or email to:

More information can be had through Twitter @TeaterAbnon and @DiatoneAsia 

Photo Courtesy of Gambang Kromong by