It’s a Wednesday morning as I type this. ‘Er Indoors is using the hair dryer, usually the precursor to her going out. A squall of rain is trying to make its mind up as to how long it should be before we have to prepare for leaks. Ah, there comes the drip-drip-drip on the mailbox … a motorcyclist speeds up, as if going faster means that you can avoid some of the downpour.
I hear the rumble of an approaching thunderstorm and am comfortable in its familiarity. ‘Er Indoors isn’t and insists on the front door being shut while she takes to our bed. Later she’ll have a massage which is accompanied by grunts, groans, belches and farts, and that’s just Ibu Pijit (the massage lady).
Once the deluge is done, the passing vendors try to catch up on their schedules. We know them ano who sells what by their street cries … and their cries, clicks and clangs are an unintrusive part of our scenery.
This afternoon, the tukang gorengan (fried tempeh, bananas, cassava …) will clang on his wok. Later a tukang bakso (meatball seller) will park for a while outside and use a wooden spoon to tap on his urn. Between 4 and 5, my two tukang roti (bread sellers) will pass by squeaking their horns, but it’s a different bakery from this one with his battery operated everlasting loop.
Some vendors have become ‘redundant’ over time. One such is the tukang minyak. My co-author, Derek Bacon, who contributed most of sounds I’m linking to here to the Internet Archives, suggests that ‘minyak’ is cooking oil. Actually it was kerosene for cooking stoves. A few years ago the government phased them out in exchange for gas canisters. Jakarta’s air may now be slightly easier to breathe. Gas is also used for inflatable toys, but probably a different one.
But, hey, this blog is about music.
This is a ‘song’ heard every day, preferably wafting gently over rooftops in the evening air at jam maghrib.
This is the trailer for Daniel Ziv’s award winning documentary Jalanan (Street Ballad) about three Jakarta street musicians.
And here are some more ….