OK Swara (Suara) Delapan is the keroncong orchestra from SMK Negeri 8 Surakarta, the vocational high school that offers programs in dance, wayang, gamelan and other musical genres. The orchestra changes each year as new students arrive and older ones leave.
Here’s the amazing 2014 orchestra rehearsing a keroncong version of the Lionel Ritchie song ‘Hello’ with teacher and guide Doel Sumbing and vocalist Wisik Sunaryanto.
Senior keroncongers including Si Doel, Mas Gesuri, Pak To Sapto Haryono, Mas Ebeit, Mbak Yanti, Mas Max Baihaqi and Mas Wisik actively support these students by: teaching at the school; mentoring and training them at senior latihan; inviting them to perform with senior groups; and playing with them in warungs and cafes around Solo, at TBS and at the Solo Keroncong Festival.
Not so long ago there was a shortage of skilled keroncong musicians and it was common to see a senior violinist and flautist leading a group of young players.These days many young orchestras have up to six violinists and more than one flautist.
With such a wealth of talented and enthusiastic young musicians, the future of keroncong is assured.