As Jakartass, I write from the perspective of being part of an Indonesian family while retaining integral memories of a past back in the UK. Some of those memories are of course of a nostalgic nature, of learning community values which have informed my personal values, and they add a perspective to my observations here in Jakarta.
Finally getting hold of Martin Ansell’s album from 1986, a digital replacement of a pirated cassette I found in Yogyakarta back in 1988, has lead to this compilation. I’m an Englishman abroad, as are a few of my semi-social network here in Jakarta. I say semi- because I’m not a habitue of the night life, though there was a time when getting around in Jakarta wasn’t such a bind. And ‘few’ because those social bonds inevitably transcend national and political boundaries.
The whys and hows of our settling here are as similar yet different as each of us. That has been true ever since the Neanderthals and homo sapiens left the continent of Africa. The leaving of familiar homelands has been the defining characteristic of our species, and our need to try and create a home in a different environment.
Here’s one of them…
I’m going to a foreign nation to purchase a plantation,
To comfort us hereafter all in Amerikay.
A trawl through my music archives seeking songs with the words abroad, alien, or foreign has produced the selection you can download. The lyrics offer many perspectives based on experience. I’ve belatedly realised that the two instrumentals, by the English group Japan and by Eno, are similar: Eno’s track was recorded a year earlier in 1978.
Tracks (at varying bitrates).
01. Martin Ansell – The Englishman Abroad
02. Robert Wyatt – Foreign Accents
03. Japan – A Foreign Place
04. Caravan – All Abroad
05. Art Bears – The Songs of Investment Capital Overseas
06. Brian Eno, Roedelius & Dieter Moebius – Foreign Affairs
07. Mike Oldfield – Foreign Affair
08. Ian Hunter – All American Alien Boy
09. Robert Wyatt – Alien
10. Norma Winstone – Distance
Note: Yes, that’s Jaco Pastorius (bass) and David Sanborn (alto sax) on track 8.