Muslim women around the world who choose to wear headscarves (known as hijab or jilbab in Indonesia) will tell you that they face all sorts of stereotypes. Like they’re all quiet. Or subservient. Or meek. That they don’t have voices.
Anybody who thinks that way clearly hasn’t met many Muslim women. And they’ve certainly never heard Voice of Baceprot (VoB), a metal band made up of three teenage girls from Garut, West Java.
The band’s members, Firdda Kurnia (lead guitar and vocals), Widi Rahmawati (bassist, vocals) and Euis Siti (drummer) are 15-16 years old but have already been playing together for three years. Although they’ve already built up quite a reputation in Garut, having won several local band competitions, the above song, an original titled “The Enemy Of Earth Is You” is their first big viral hit. The song about environmental destruction has already been shared on Facebook over 11,000 times since it was first posted on April 3, thrusting VoB into the national consciousness (they were just interviewed by two national TV stations this weekend).
Describing themselves in a Facebook post as “‘Three Dangerous Women” (in a positive sense, of course)’”, the trio says they understand that a metal band consisting of three young teenage women wearing hijabs might be an unusual thing, especially in Indonesia where the music world is associated with things like alcohol and sex. But they said they want to change people’s perceptions by showing them that women in hijabs can follow their beliefs and still rock hard.
They also describe their genre as “HIP METAL FUNKY”, which really is a good description for their sound, as shown in their second single, “Age Oriented (let’s be old)”, which is about the injustices of age discrimination in Indonesia.
Among their varied musical influences, the band lists Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, System of a Down, Eminem, Sublime, Linkin Park, Tool, Gigi, PAS Band and Netral. Metallica, too (look at the size and enthusiasm of that crowd!)
While there’s no doubt the ladies of VoB are pioneers, they’re actually not the first Indonesian teenage hijab-wearing girls to go viral for their face-melting metal skills. That honor goes to Meliani Siti Sumartini from Bandung, who grabbed the nation and the world’s attention in 2015 with this finger-blistering rendition of Lamb of God’s “Hourglass” (the video’s racked up 1.7 million views on Youtube so far).
To all Indonesian ladies who rock, we salute you.