The idea of ukulele, kids and punk is a combination Ukulele 4 Kids hadn’t considered. So I was quite interested to find out more.
Jakarta Punk: The Marjinal Story
Maria Bakkalapulo recently contacted Ukulele 4 Kids to share information about a documentary she is making in Indonesia. She describes a musical movement spreading through Indonesia. It’s a punk revolution led mostly by street kids, who mainly use ukuleles to spread their message of change.
Anyone taking a taxi cab in Jakarta , stuck in a traffic jam, will have noticed ‘street kids’ coming up to the window appealing for money, often playing ukeleles and singing. Offering a few dollars worth of currency might leave one wondering – ‘is this going to make a real difference?’
In Jakarta, there’s a punk rock movement that established itself over a decade ago. Marjinal is one of Indonesia’s original punk bands. The band quickly became popular because their songs offered hope for kids with few opportunities. Their film, Jakarta Punk: The Marjinal Story, is their way of spreading the message of change for those who cannot easily help themselves.
Punk attitudes gave Marjinal the impetus to demand change against frightening odds. On the streets of Jakarta in the late 1990’s, mass public protests brought about the end of authoritarian rule by then President Suharto. But Indonesia still has many social ills to heal, with around 50% of the population still living in poverty. Marjinal continues to sing about the injustices and corruption they see every day. Punk and its radical attitude is a cry from the streets.
The documentary has Marjinal at its core. It tells their story, as the voice of the street kids. Marjinal are inspiring a social and political revolution in Indonesia, helping directly through sheltering these homeless children, and teaching them creative ways to earn money. Punk gives these kids an identity, hope, a family. The documentary looks into the reasons why the punk community is a substitute for family and state support.