Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ol' Blue Eyes in Bali: Los Sinatras

Bali faces

I’ve mentioned before that one of the great pleasures in life is the unexpected. Being surprised.

Last week during my abbreviated trip to Timor Leste I discovered that one of the men working in the office was an Indonesian. This took me back a bit considering the history of bad blood between the Timorese and Indonesians.  In 1974, when the Portuguese pulled up the tent and sailed back to Lisboa, the Indonesians, citing a certitude that non-voluntary integration of the small island into Greater Indonesia was exactly what the Timorese desired, (of course, no attempt was made to test the basis of this confidence), the Indonesian army launched a clumsy but emphatic invasion.  They were driven out at last, in 1999, after twenty five years of heavy-handed rule.

So to come across an Indonesian working in Timor was like meeting an American in Pyongyang. A bit unexpected.  But even more surprising was the fact that this Indonesian, a smiling young man named Younis, was a musician. One of his musical duties was managing a ‘rockabilly band’ based in Bali!  Not a Link Wray or Stray Cats tribute bar band but a genuine, honest-to-god, Balinese rock ensemble, playing their own tunes.

The final and most pleasant surprise came when Younis handed me a copy of the band’s album. Their name is Los Sinatras and it’s their album, Suicidal Sinatra, that we highlight tonight.

This music is not exactly what I would call rockabilly but it has a strong rock with a slight, and very pleasant, country vibe percolating through the mix.  These guys are a very competent three piece band: Anox Sinatra on drums, Leo Sinatra plies the guitar and Kape Sinatra manages to keep the bottom bubbling with a white double bass.  As I listen to the album I hear strains of Los Lobos via The Del Lords and the Clash.  Even a bit of Neil Young.  Half the songs are in Bahasa Indonesia (or maybe Balinese) and the other in English. The end result is a distinctly Indonesian musical nasi goring, that spicy, ever so tasty street food loved across the archipelago.  Thoroughly enjoyable music. The next time you’re in Bali be sure to keep your ears and eyes open for them and be sure to tell them you’re there because Younis the Manager is doing his job! And to give him a raise!

            Track Listing:
01.  Masa Kecil
02.  Anak Rock
03.  Los Sinatra
04.  Hope
05.  I’m a Soldier

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