Waldjinah is a renowned diva in Indonesia and a leading exponent of the kroncong style.
Waljinah was born into a poor family in Surakarta in 1945, the tenth child in her family. Her father earned a living as an artisan, painting batik cloth, and her mother sold food in the market.
It was in the batik factory where her father worked that Waljinah heard the traditional Javanese songs that inspired her to become a singer.
When she entered high school she developed an interest in kroncong and in 1958 she won first prize in a competition organised by the state-owned Radio Republik Indonesia in Surakarta.
Since then her career has blossomed and she has become a household name, with over 200 albums to her credit.
Her voice is heard on the radio daily and she makes numerous television appearances.
She has recorded over 1500 different songs, with a repertoire ranging from traditional singing with gamelan, popular songs, kroncong and various other styles.
She has performed internationally in places such as the Netherlands, Japan, Singapore and Surinam, and in 2003, made her first appearance in Australasia at the 7th Wellington International Jazz Festival, pictured below. Accompanied by her kroncong ensemble,Bintang Surakarta, this performance was a collaborative project with Fracas Saxophone and Gamelan Padhang Moncar.
A recording of the collaboration is available.
Gamelan Padhang Moncar were honoured to have her sing with us at our performance at the 2007 Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival.
Photos: Sue Street
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