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Art and music have always been a part of social change and activism. They have the power to intervene in politics and create lasting impact. In Indonesia, Efek Rumah Kaca is an indie rock band who have been using their music as a tool to protest against government policies and to comment on other important issues. Their song, Mosi Tidak Percaya, (Vote of No Confidence in English), has become an anthem for civil demonstrations in Indonesia. The song can be heard playing in street marches, most recently at the Omnibus Law protest that took place last October and previously at the country’s criminal code protest in 2019.

On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Dwitri Amalia speaks to Cholil Mahmud, the lead vocalist and guitarist of the band, about using their music to advocate against regressive policies, and the role of art and music in a democracy.

You can listen to Mosi Tidak Percaya here.

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Dwitri Amalia

Dwitri Amalia is a freelance producer from Jakarta, Indonesia. She spent six years in academia thinking she was going to pursue a career as an economist to research on poverty reduction, but she realised her calling is in the arts. She ended up working in film festivals in Amsterdam (CinemAsia Film Festival, World Cinema Amsterdam), managed an arts centre in Jakarta (Salihara Arts Center), and directed a communication consulting business for non-profit organisations (Communication for Change). She co-founded Ramuan Studio in 2020, on its way to its first short film project. To this date, she has produced an ethnographic documentary (The Way We Watch TV, 2015) and an audio drama (Pinangan, 2020). You can reach her at dwitri@gmail.com.