JAKARTA: Like any up-and-coming band, teenagers Firda Kurnia, Widi Rahmawati and Euis Siti Aisyah only want to talk about their music. But all anyone else wants to talk about is that they wear the hijab. If anyone asks the three girls from Singajaya, a rural area in Indonesia’s West Java province, whether there is a connection between what they wear and being members of a metal band, they say no.
“I feel weird and disappointed if our metal band is associated with the fact that we wear the hijab. I prefer if people would just talk about our music,” said Firda, 17, the guitarist and vocalist with Voice of Baceprot.
Baceprot means “noisy” in Sundanese, a language spoken mainly in West Java.
The girls said their hijab was their identity as Muslims, but metal was just a music genre for them to channel their creativity. They knew the controversy was coming, but it still irritates their music teacher and manager, Cep Erza Eka Susila Satya, when the two are linked.
“When I first introduced them to music, it never really occurred to me about their hijab. They are students of an Islamic school so it’s just normal that they wear the hijab,” Cep Ersa told Arab News at a bar in Jakarta’s hip neighborhood of Kemang, where the girls were checking their sound before a performance.
“I was just offering them the chance to make music the medium to channel their aspirations. I think it would be too much to associate wearing the hijab and performing music.”
Firda, Widi and Euis did not come from musical families and they had no knowledge of music to start with. But after taking part in a musical drama in 2014 in their Islamic junior high school, or madrassa, they started to listen to Cep Erza’s metal music collection on his laptop. Cep Erza lent the girls the computer so they could use it to write, but they pored over his playlist, which included songs from metal and rock bands such as System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, Slipknot and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.