Jokowi Talks About Indonesia’s Creative Industries with Arkana

By LINDA SILAEN in the Wall Street Journal Blog


JAKARTA–Matt Hart, the guitarist for popular British dance band Arkarna, congratulated President-elect Joko Widodo and talked with him about the music industry during a visit to Jakarta.

President-elect Joko Widodo posts for the media with Arkarna guitarist Matt Hart. The British rocker was in town to personally congratulate Mr. Widodo on being declared the winner of Indonesia’s July 9 election.
Linda Silaen/The Wall Street Journal

In a meeting at City Hall Mr. Widodo said the two mainly discussed Indonesia’s creative industries, particularly music. To boost the country’s creative industry, Mr. Hart, who wore a full black suit, suggested that Mr. Widodo strengthen law enforcement, set the basic infrastructure and give incentives to people who plan to invest in those areas.

Mr. Widodo, who has resumed his duties as governor until inauguration in October, said he knows several songs of Arkarna’s songs, including “Eat Me” and “Block Capital.”

A number of international musicians – including Sting and Jason Mraz –  sent Mr. Widodo messages of support during the campaign. Guns N’ Roses’ guitarist Bumblefoot and a popular metal magazine sent words of congratulations to Mr. Widodo, a well-known metal head, after Indonesia’s elections commission declared him the winner of the July 9 election.

Since then, a number of Mr. Widodo’s supporters have clamored to be seen with him. His volunteer team has also set up a post in Central Jakarta to handle applications coming in for Cabinet positions.

Arkarna performed in Jakarta in late May and Mr. Widodo, also known as Jokowi, appeared on stage and sang during the show.


“I said to Ollie, please sing a Betawi song,” Mr. Widodo says in the video, referring to an ethnic group native to Jakarta. “But he said he would agree on the request that I sing with him… that was a hard request. Then I contemplated for two days and decided alright. But I have to [warn] you again, my voice is not good.”

Wearing a leather jacket over a black t-shirt, Mr. Widodo battled through microphone problems to croon the song called “Nonton Bioskop” alongside Arkarna lead singer Ollie Jacobs and two other Indonesian musicians, Dyandra and Bondan.

Mr. Hart spoke with reporters about his latest visit with Mr. Widodo. Edited excerpts.

WSJ: What do you think about Jokowi?
Mr. Hart: It’s no surprise that officially we’ve been supposing his campaign. For me it is important to come in person [to congratulate him]. When you see how humble he is, how well he listens to the people … I think will bring a strong future for Indonesia.

WSJ: What change do you think he’ll bring for Indonesia?
Mr. Hart: I think the change will be extremely positive, and I think it’s now the time that people look to the changes

WSJ: Do you have plans to sing together with Jokowi?
Mr. Hart: I will be delighted to teach him.

WSJ: What kind of songs?
Mr. Hart: When I teach people, I like to teach them pop songs.