UNAIR English Lecturer: Javanese Hip Hop music contributes to cultural preservation

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UNAIR NEWS – Javanese culture is often regarded as valuable (adiluhung) culture, especially from its three distict styles or registers, which consists of polite and formal style (kromo), intermediate, and informal speech (ngoko).

A lecturer of English Language and Literature of Faculty of Humanities (FIB) Universitas Airlangga Edi Dwi Riyanto, S.S., M. Hum conducted a study on the valuable aspect of Javanese culture in the current era. Hip Hop music which identifies modern culture can be a limitation in Javanese culture.

Edi gave an example of Kulonuwun song which is one of the hip hop songs composed by Rotra from Yogyakarta in 2007. The song mixed Javanese kromo and ngoko into one song. The song also begins politely using high Javanese (kromo).

“In Javanese hip hop music, adiluhung and non-adiluhung have been mixed into one and the barrier has been diluted,” he said.

In this regard, Edi also said that Javanese hip hop song also contributed to the preservation of Javanese culture in its own way. Hip hop songs with Javanese lyrics are a way to preserve culture in modern era.

Edi also gave an example of another Javanese hip hop song called Jagal Pabu  (Dog Butcher). The song uses the ‘reversed’ (walikan) language style to make room for taboo issue so it can be conveyed to the public. The walik technique is commonly used by Yogjakarta youth referring to the rearranging or reversing position of Javanese letters.

Edi in the study also revealed that the adiluhung and non-adiluhung border have been crossed by Javanese hip hop musicians. He also presented two crossing techniques in Javanese hip hop songs.

The first technique is by mixing various styles of language in one song. The second technique is to use walik language to reveal and convey taboo issues publicly.

Not only two linguistic techniques, Javanese hip hop musicians also use remix techniques. Jogja Hip Hop Foundation (JHF) is able to combine high and low lists in one cultural product such as in the Kulonuwun song.

JHF uses different tones strategy combined with the use of reversed language. This remix technique has proven successful in producing popular Javanese Hip Hop songs.

“The impact of this remixing is the deconstruction of separation between the fair and the unfair, making social stratification reflected in a more fluid language,” he said.

Edi admitted that socially, Javanese people are changing. It is in contrast with the separation of culture which is popular. The main impact of the remixes in the lyrics is to balance the elements of the adiluhung and non-adiluhung elements of Javanese culture. (*)

Author: Aditya Novrian

Editor: Khefti Almawalia

References:

https://www.oapen.org/download?type=document&docid=1002492#page=71

Edi Dwi Riyanto. 2017. Remixed Javaneseness: Lyrics of levelling adiluhung non-adiluhung. ISBN : 978-1-138-58034-3

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