In a religious neighborhood in the West Java region of Indonesia, three young schoolgirls of a conservative background are breaking preconceived notions of who can be in a heavy metal band. Performing under the name The Voice of Baceprot, you can hear them shredding and shouting throughout the most popular venues across the country.
It’s at school where they met and found their passion for playing heavy rock. Encouraged by a guidance counselor at an all-girls Muslim school, Firdda Kurnia, Eusi Siti Aisyah, and Widi Rahmawati were played the song “Toxicity” by System of a Down and had their minds blown. They haven’t looked back since.
Changing Perceptions Isn’t Easy
Because of their image as three hijab-wearing school girls, many people have taken a disliking to their talents. They have been the subject of threatening messages, calls and even received criticism from their parents at first. However, once they started becoming successful, the girls’ families came around.
Kurnia explains why they are sometimes met with a negative response: “They say my music is forbidden by my religion. I’m a different musician because I’m a woman, and I play metal music while wearing a hijab.” But she proudly asserts that “Hijab is my identity, OK?”
Their guidance counselor, Erza Satia, revealed she “Doesn’t know why the girls love the metal bands.” However, “many people think metal music is satanic but we are showing that there is a different shade, a different side to the music.” These are sentiments that Kurnia agrees with: “We can play metal and protect our morals. Of course Islam and metal can match. Why not?” She continues: “Metal is just a genre of music. The problem is it is often associated with bad things, but it doesn’t have to be.”
They’re in Demand and Ambitious
Their name draws inspiration from their native tongue, as “Baceport” means “noisy” in the Sudanese language. Slipknot, Lamb of God, and Rage Against The Machine are a few of the bands that they single-out as major inspirations to their music; they love what they do, and people can tell.
They may still be in school but they’re managing to perform around three times a month. The heavy metal scene in Indonesia is considerable, if underground, and respond extremely positively to these pioneering young women. After all, they’re not following a blueprint – there aren’t any other bands like them.
And watch this space – they’re hoping to release their first album in 2020. “We are dreaming of performing overseas, like in England or America,” declares Kurnia. She continues: “I hope my band will be successful and can be the inspiration of younger generations. I think what we want to say to the young women of Indonesia is, don’t be afraid of being different. Don’t be afraid to shout your independence.” No doubt, they’re inspiring many.